Big Data Trends

The evolution of big data and business analytics continues at a rapid pace as its influence grows in every sector. Let’s explore current trends in big data and what they portend for the future.

  1. Machine Learning Is Becoming More Accessible to Small Businesses

    Machine learning is a form of AI (artificial intelligence) that allows systems to teach themselves through ongoing internal reprogramming based on data analysis. What is learned changes the way the app behaves without outside programming. For example, software programs analyze big data about user preferences and requirements to customize their experience. As SAS says, computers, “learn from previous computations to produce reliable, repeatable decisions and results.”

    While machine learning happens out of view, its results are visible all around us, and you’ll see more of it going forward:

    • The ads you’re presented online based on browsing and shopping
    • Finely tuned search engine results based on whether you click on those presented or reject them and type in a new search word or phrase
    • Viewing recommendations made by Amazon and Netflix that suit to your tastes
    • Credit card companies detecting potential fraud on your account when a transaction doesn’t fit your shopping pattern
    • Amazon Alexa and other voice-recognition systems learning to recognize your speech patterns to understand you better
    • The detection of malware based on similarities in the file’s code to previously identified malware
    • Financial institutions making trading decisions based on analysis of probabilities
    • Medical predictors of disease using CAD – computer assisted diagnosis

    Now, software like Apache Spark and Microsoft Azure ML is making it easier for anyone to create machine learning applications that suit their specific, even narrow, purposes.

  2. Business Users Are Embracing Cloud or Hybrid Computing

    Concerns about security of data stored in the cloud are lessening. In fact, measures to keep information safe there are more effective than those used on many private, on-premise servers. The result is hybrid computing where data is stored in the cloud with analytic functions occurring there and on local servers. There’s a financial benefit, according to Mary Shacklett, president of Transworld Data: “Companies see reduced spend in their data centers and greater flexibility in terms of plugging into and out of solutions. The ability to do this comes with subscriptions to services and not having to lock in for multiple years to on-premises equipment.”
  3. Demand for Data Scientists is Growing in All Sector and Size Companies

    To stay competitive, many small and mid-size companies are spending money on experts to handle big data analytics. Some are hiring in-house data scientists while those that don’t want to spend on a full-time position are using subscription services Shacklett referred to. They are offered by a growing number of tech companies specializing in cloud computing and big data analytics using Hadoop, Apache Mesos and sources like HDFS, HBase, S3, EC2, Mesos and Cassandra.

Four people on their phones
  1. Dark Data Is Seeing the Light Again

    Dark data is the wealth of information, mostly on paper, that has not been digitized. It is being mined to learn about historical performance, product cycles and trends and to support claims of intellectual property and trademark infringement.

  2. Data Security Permissions are Being Adapted>

    The wealth of accumulated data will become a target for those who might use it in ways not in the best interest of the company or organization. Whistleblowers will also use it to expose unethical and illegal practices. Instances of both are widespread in the news. Countermeasures are being put in place to control access, and it will require more than just policies. Technology is being improved to monitor and detect when unauthorized users view, copy or transfer information they’re not cleared to access, a process called exfiltration.

  3. Business Owners, CEOs and Board Members are Demanding Results

    With the large investments being made in big data accumulation and analysis come the demand for tangible, repeatable return on investment.

    In Sales, questions they’re asking about the use of big data include:

    • Are we learning about the wants, preferences and buying habits of our customers in a way that is increasing current sales and customer retention?
    • Are we tailoring our products and services to capture larger market share?
    • Are we improving marketing, advertising, CRM and customer service?

    Similar sets of questions are being asked in healthcare, agriculture, security and public safety, the military, manufacturing, education, meteorology, sports, entertainment, non-profit organizations and every other sector.

Making Use of Big Data

There’s an ocean of data available, and the rivers flowing into it are expanding daily. It’s possible to drown in the data – to commit resources to it without getting benefits the competition receives. That’s why it is essential to make use of professionals, tools and resources with a proven record of selecting the right data and using it properly to get the results you expect.