(Big Data Overview is a part of CIOPages.com resource hub on business intelligence and data analytics transformation in large enterprises.} Big Data is a big deal. It is the new “Plastics!”. Do you feel that your business is inundated on a daily basis with massive amounts of data – structured, semi-structured, unstructured and at times seemingly unaffiliated? If so, that’s big data, and businesses that organize it and analyze it for insights into strategy and decision-making are the businesses that will excel in today’s fast moving marketplace.

Big Data Overview

Gartner defined Big data as a high-volume, high-velocity and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation.

Gartner defined Big data as a high-volume, high-velocity and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation.

Big data isn’t just about volume. In fact, it is often described as the “three Vs”: volume, variety, and velocity.

Volume

the high volume of largely digital data you receive from social media, email, business transactions, marketing campaigns, and so on

Velocity

the breakneck speed at which that data inundates your business; it must be dealt with efficiently

Variety

the formats of structured and unstructured data that come to your business as numeric data, text, email—even video or audio. The multiple data sources create a complex situation that can make it difficult to transform that data into something useful.

In our technological age of superior computing ability, getting the data, accessing the data, and storing the data are not the problem. The challenge comes in understanding the data.

Many companies are creating executive dashboards, a one-stop shop that provides a visual representation of real-time company performance. The dashboard is fueled by big data and it connects to the business systems you currently use, like your website analytics program or your accounting system. Dashboards pull all the disparate data into one place for easy viewing, and some are even built to manipulate data into a more accessible format.

So why you should care? Because unless some other terms, there is tremendous value in Big Data and the opportunities for companies abound.

In a new report authored by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), The age of analytics: Competing in a data-driven world, McKinsey experts suggest that the range of applications and opportunities has grown and will continue to expand in years to come. Given rapid technological advances across the spectrum, the McKinsey research sums up “It is a question for companies now is how to integrate new capabilities into their operations and strategies—and position themselves in a world where analytics can upend entire industries.”

So what can a dashboard and big data analysis do for you? Here’s how other companies are using it for insight:

Risk analysis

Many companies are using predictive analytics to gain more meaningful insight. This helps you see new patterns that are different from the patterns of your traditional data. Many companies use it to keep up with industry trends and to look at predictors in a new way.

New revenue streams

Once you gain insights into your data, the market or the industry and its consumers, you have the option to sell that data to other industry players

Product redevelopment

big data helps companies better understand how products are perceived in the marketplace, and you can more easily adapt them. For example, you can quickly test thousands of design variations for material cost and manufacturing lead times to decide on the best option

Cost reduction

Companies use big data to monitor equipment and can easily spot failing equipment and even predict when they will become non-operational. This is a much more effective replacement strategy than just wholesale replacement of all equipment every two years, which has been the standard practice.

Enterprise-level insight

Rather than having your IT department provide analysis, big data tools allow much of the groundwork to be done in the field, with each team taking responsibility for their division data. This means that data is analyzed and available much faster, making it more relevant to you for real-time insight.

Sure, there are drawbacks and pitfalls that come with big data. It’s easy to be distracted by data not relevant to the problem you’re trying to solve, and it’s easy to not include the right data for the decision or to compare apples and oranges.

But effective use of these data is possible and will help your company. In fact, estimates predict that utilizing big data strategies could generate billions of dollars in annual value for businesses that use it.

This big data overview is an integral set of resources for enterprises embarking on a big data, business intelligence and data analytics transformation.