In 2020 Big Data is one of the most significant elements of digital transformation and nothing seems to change that in 2021. Every business, regardless of its size, can benefit from the effective use of certain information. Technologies created to gather, categorise, analyse, store and use Big Data will be developing as the Big Data market is rapidly growing.
To start the Big Data topic, let us quote its most up-to-date definition by Gartner:
Big Data is 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 is defined by four characteristics (the so-called 4 Vs):
- Volume – the amount of gathered data;
- Velocity – the speed of how data is generated and used (e.g. real-time);
- Variety – the types of data (e.g. structured/ unstructured information, video, text);
- Veracity – the quality of data (e.g. valuable information that helps analyse the results).
Information is the gold of the 21st century
We live in a Big Data era as the information processing market is growing exponentially. Our times are also called by experts and trendwatchers ‘the golden rush of the 21st century’. Why is information regarded as the new gold? Let the numbers speak for themselves:
The global Big Data market is projected to reach $103 billion by 2027.
Every second massive amounts of priceless information come from the Internet, social networks, text messages or smart devices equipped with IoT sensors. Industries that benefit the most from the use of Big Data are: healthcare, banking, media, retail, transport, manufacturing, energy and utilities. Big Data is powering the world and forcing the organisations to seek consultation from a Big Data expert.
- In 2020, every person is expected to generate 1.7 megabytes in just a second (Source: Domo)
- Internet users generate about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day (Source: Forbes)
- The Big Data market is worth $138.9 billion in 2020 and is expected to top $229.4 billion by 2025 (Source: Precisely)
- Using Big Data, for example Netflix saves $1 billion per year on customer retention (Source: Inside Big Data)
Big Data’s impact on business
For modern business it is the quality not quantity of gathered data that matters. We can observe a specific shift among companies from being only data-generating to data-powered. Let us see how the effective use of Big Data can leverage business.
Better decision making
Proper technological analysis of Big Data can bring insights that were previously almost impossible to uncover. In marketing and e-commerce we can study customers’ behaviour in detail, gather real-time information about their actions, adjust communication and personalise items to their specific needs. Thanks to information gathered from different channels, we can understand our customers’ behaviour and visualise their journeys. It helps customise the user experience and leads to better decision-making within business.
More efficient operation
The concept of lean management established decades ago by Toyota is now powered with data. Specific real-time information can make internal processes more effective and simply smart. How? With smart labels and different sensors we can collect large amounts of streaming data used in analysis and building predictive models. They help optimise supply chains, avoid failures and create the future plans.
Product & service improvement
Technology lets us observe and analyse certain company’s data trends from many different channels. Opinions from social media, reviews, www or mobile apps build the whole picture. We see what works and detect repetitive doubts or complaints. With a complex set of information we can improve the way our products or services work, as well as we can create a better customer experience. It is extremely important nowadays as 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.
Smart reaction to changes
The 2020 situation with Covid-19 has shown that we need to be prepared for unexpected incidents. The coronavirus pandemic not only impacts the economy, but also rapidly changes business patterns. Big Data collected in this unusual time helps quickly discover new needs, create new strategies and offer products or services in the upgraded form. It is a valuable lesson for all.
The major challenges of Big Data in 2021
Large amounts of information create an enormous potential for business, as well as serious challenges that need to be met in the nearest future.
Larger volume and cloud migration
The number of data grows enormously with time. IDC predicts that the Global Datasphere will grow from 33 zettabytes in 2018 to 175 Zettabytes by 2025. Such rapid growth is powered by both: the increasing number of internet users taking more actions online (e.g. working, banking, shopping, social networking) and billions of connected smart devices and IoT systems. That means not only smartphones connected with computers or smartwatches, but also larger concepts of smart buildings, smart transportation or even smart cities.
Such huge volumes require an adequate database to store and process information. Until recently, gathered data was kept in open-source ecosystems, such as Hadoop and NoSQL. Nowadays, more and more companies decide to switch to cloud solutions that provide agility, scalability, and ease of use. The third decade of the 21st century may belong to hybrid environments and multi-cloud environments.
Increased need for Data Scientists and outsourcing services
As the volume and variety of gathered data is growing, the need for best-fitted systems and data specialists is increasing, too. A lot of companies face the lack of competent and experienced staff or have to deal with software that does not work properly. One of the solutions that gains popularity is software outsourcing. Even if a company is not ready to create a software team in-house or hire high-class Data Scientists, all the tough work can be done outside by experienced specialists and their software teams.
Integration of sources
Big Data combines a broad array of data sources, both: online and offline. Integrating all information as an architectural overlay across all enterprise systems is essential. It helps see the broad picture, better understand the nature of gathered data and discover insights useful in decision making and planning. Big Data sources integration will be an important step to take by many companies.
Data security and privacy issues have been a serious issue from long ago. Growing volumes of information need to be protected from intrusions as well as from cyber attacks. The problem with security has several reasons:
- security skill gap (according to Cybercrime Magazine, unfilled cybersecurity positions will reach 3.5 million by 2021);
- fast evolution of cyberattacks (hackers are continually making their threats more complex);
- not following security standards properly (many organisations still ignore data security standards or use them selectively).
To maintain the company’s reputation, many C-level executives and managers regard the whole area of data privacy as their top priority, along with security and data ethics.
The future Big Data landscape
New year’s predictions bring a lot to look forward to. We can expect a sharper focus on data governance as many companies want to improve the use of data, as well as the privacy and cybersecurity issues.
Cloud computing is a crucial matter in terms of Big Data, as companies want to deliver their products and services faster than ever. To do that, they will adopt modern microservices architectures based on the latest DevOps methodologies.
2021 will be the year of augmented analytics. Organisations will continue to apply Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing to their Big Data platforms to make faster decisions and recognise trends.
Public and private clouds are expected to exist together for the first time in 2021. Thanks to 5G, multicloud IT strategies and modern hybrid cloud architectures enterprises can have better data management, real-time visibility and security of gathered information.
In 2021 data will also become fast and actionable. Fast data concept allows processing in real-time streams. It means information is analysed quickly and brings instant value like faster decision making process and immediate action taking. As IDC predicts, nearly 30% of the global data will be real-time by 2025.
Let us meet the new Data challenges
Although with new solutions come new challenges, Big Data technology will continue to bring great value. Information from various sources helps see the bigger picture. Provided with specific insights, we can simply make better decisions, know our customers better and understand the details of different, often complicated processes. Big Data lets us follow the consumer trends, or even create the new ones. The continuous growth of the Big Data market will create new work opportunities for Data Scientists, analysts and managers. More companies will become aware that they need to make use of actionable data. They will need a new, professional approach, also coming from the outside software providers. We are looking forward to 2021 challenges, ready to accept and meet them.