How to use the potential of Big Data in the development of the company?
Big Data is an expression that is becoming more and more popular all over the world. Mainly analysts use them in their work, but they also arouse interest among ordinary people. This is because, as a work tool, it is a source of a number of useful data and information, and in society it causes reluctance and fears of excessive surveillance by corporations using it.
Big Data - what is it?
Big Data describes the tendency to search, download, collect and process available data. It is a method of legally gathering information from a variety of sources, and then analyzing it and using it for your own purposes. As a result, a consumer profile is created, which is later used to e.g. increase sales. Therefore, the most important thing in Big Data is the processing of information and the practical application of the conclusions drawn from it, and not the mere collection of data.
It is worth mentioning once again that the data collected and processed by analysts is obtained in a lawful manner. Most often they are related to services that are already used anyway.
Examples of the use of Big Data
Big Data is ubiquitous today. The entities that use them in their activities are, for example:
Banks - Collect data that results from movements on user accounts, e.g. payments made, their size and type of purchased items;
Companies - They release their own applications that are downloaded by users to smartphones or tablets. By installing the product on a device, most often you automatically consent to the application's access to your own data;
Owners of websites who can also collect such data through the services they provide. Most often, consent to such an action is included in the regulations.
Social media channels and Big Data
An interesting source of data is also social media. The information obtained from them is very difficult to analyze, because they do not contain numerical values that can be easily compared with each other. However, they can be analyzed in terms of the presence and content of keywords, the appearance and frequency of user posts and their response time to posts posted by other people.
Data segregation - methods and tools
The amount of data collected is huge and grows with each new action performed by users. Some of them may turn out to be less valuable. Therefore, the next stage of analysts' work is to properly segregate information in order to be able to fully use it. The most effective way is to select the most important ones and use known and available analytical tools. Since queries need to be executed quickly, all analyzes are performed in parallel. The most important algorithm used for this purpose is MapReduce. The use of this tool makes it possible to disperse the entered data sets among many servers, which organize them and select the appropriate elements and records according to the query rules. The results obtained in this way are collected and processed into the resulting form.The end result is a smaller amount of data, because they have been properly grouped and subjected to the necessary reduction process. There are also other tools that can be successfully used by analysts. Choosing the most appropriate one depends on the user's preferences and the expected results. Among the many available on the market, the most popular Big Data measurement tools are:
database warehouses - Cassandra, MongoDB or Neo4j,
data-mining algorithms - RapidMiner and Mahout,
indexing systems such as Lucene,
as well as other technologies, such as the Sqoop project, Flume, Terracotta and Avro.
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Is Big Data worth using and when? - summary
Big Data has great potential to create consumer behavior. Based on the collected data, it is possible to create and precisely define the profile of their needs and effectively provide them with ideal (from the seller's point of view) solutions. Such long-term activities have a chance to contribute to the emergence of a competitive advantage on the market for the benefit of the company that has decided to use Big Data tools.
Big Data raises some doubts signaled by the public. They are related in particular to the fear of excessive interference by analysts in their private lives and deliberate misleading in order to achieve their own sales goals. The border is delicate and it is really only up to companies how far they go to implement their own plans. The correctness of their activities is supervised by the European Union, which deals more and more intensively with the issue of personal data protection, and the Inspector General for Personal Data Protection.
Big Data can be used in a way that is beneficial to both the consumer and the enterprise. For example, based on the collected information, the bank is able to offer the customer a revolving loan on the account so that he can afford additional expenses. And the insurance company, after a meticulous analysis of the entries on the Facebook profile of a client who loves extreme sports, may offer him an additional package of benefits.
Big Data is a tool that helps organizations better understand their own environment and the consumers who use their products or services. Therefore, it is only up to qualified and informed staff whether companies will manage to use the collected data in an ethical manner that does not harm current and future users.