Big data is just that; huge sets of data that are constantly changing, which means that it’s really difficult to cajole into any meaningful form of information.
Wikipedia describes big data as the “term applied to data sets whose size is beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, manage, and process the data within a tolerable elapsed time. Big data sizes are a constantly moving target currently ranging from a few dozen terabytes to many petabytes of data in a single data set.”
Big data is usually stored in a data warehouse – that is if you want to be able to analyse and interpret data for use in your everyday business. A data warehouse can incorporate Business Intelligence (BI) tools, which take extracts of data into a repository to allow you to access the key information you need without referring to the whole dataset. The thing is, not every data warehouse provides you with the capability you require, as many vendors are currently in the process of evolving their solutions from solely an information store to providing analysis tools for extracting more meaningful data.
Gartner recently stated that “we are seeing data warehouse platforms evolve from an information store supporting traditional business intelligence (BI) platforms to a broader analytics infrastructure supporting operational analytics, corporate performance management and other new applications and uses, such as operational BI and performance management.” This indicates that the market is shifting from storage and access to delivery and comprehension. In fact Gartner predicts that by 2013 most data warehouse vendors will offer something that is based more around information management and focuses on getting data out.
Planning for the future
If you have large sets of regular data that are input into your business systems and you don’t have the tools to manage your data effectively, you may end up with lots of data with no way to analyse trends. Modern businesses demand much more than just joining up common tasks within their organisation and are now more concerned with getting meaningful information out. A recent study from IBM showed that 83 % of CIOs have visionary plans that include business intelligence and analytics, confirming that businesses really want to act on the huge amounts of data that they have at their disposal.
Understanding business data
We believe that businesses want to gain a better understanding of their data to so they can plan for the future and make decisions made on knowledge and fact. Business intelligence is a fundamental part of any business, that’s why we make it available to all Sage 200 customers as standard; in fact you can see some of our Sage 200 case studies to find out what our customers think.
More and more businesses want to use the data they have accumulated over the years and be able to access it easily and interpret information. Business Intelligence allows businesses to have greater control and agility through better visibility of data and multi-dimensional analysis, so they can measure key metrics enabling them to spot things like underperformance and take action.
In this economic climate, the ability to make informed decisions is key. Business Intelligence, such as that available with Sage 200, allows businesses to identify who their top customers are, which products are selling the most, what’s most profitable and what’s in stock/on order so they can plan effectively, ensuring that customers are kept happy and profits are maximised.
Victoria Ferrer, Sage 200 Team
For more information on our finance, CRM and business intelligence software visit Sage 200.