Big Data and Business: Uncovering Opportunities in the Digital Universe

Big Data and Business: Uncovering Opportunities in the Digital Universe

January 31

Recent developments on the technological front have made us all prolific content creators. You might not put much thought into it, but we’re creating content every time we snap pictures on our smartphones, post an update to our favorite social networks, or send an email to a client. In the process, we’re producing digital information, and according to the people that keep up with this kind of stuff, a whole lot of it.

With the aid of EMC, IDC released the Digital Universe in 2020, a study that takes a comprehensive look at the data we are on pace to generate over the next six years or so. Here is a quick look at the main takeaways:

  • We are expected to create up to 40 trillion GB (or 40,000 exabytes) worth of data by 2020 as the growth rate of new information nearly doubles every two years.
  • Most information in the digital universe is generated and digested by consumers – 86 percent in 2012.
  • Much of the data in the digital universe is short-lived and unused.
  • By 2020, 40 percent of the data in the digital universe will be stored in the cloud.

Untapped Business Potential in Data 

While consumers are baking a large portion of the big data pie, enterprises are responsible or liable for almost 80 percent of it. Furthermore, the report claims that as much as 33 percent of all data in the world might contain valuable information if properly analyzed. The take away here is that while many businesses are literally sitting on informational goldmines, very few of them are actually tapping into that data to unlock its potential. But there are exceptions.

Netflix is a great example of a major enterprise player making optimal use of the data in its possession.  At the basic level, the video-streaming giant utilizes its data to help viewers choose their next flick. By asking new users what they like during the sign-up process, the company is able to make relevant suggestions based on their interests. Apparently this method has been highly effective as Netflix claims that 75 percent of its viewing activity is fueled by recommendations.

According to IDC, the volume of information in the digital universe consumers create themselves – documents, photos, videos, etc. – is outweighed by the information created about them. Companies like Netflix understand that how this data is put into action is just as important as creating it. Netflix creates a diverse wealth of data about its customers, which it generates through actions such as when and what time they watch content, how long they watch it, when they pause, rewind, and fast-foward content, and how they browse through the viewing options. These activities help the company determine what material to license from Hollywood, which original shows are most likely to take off, and make other decisions that improve the overall user experience.

Seizing the Moment

Equipped with the right data and analytical tools, businesses can leverage powerful insights that give them a huge edge over competitors that are still making moves on instincts and “gut feelings”. Although several organizations are currently missing out, the landscape may be changing for the better. The IDC report predicts that the investment in data-driven infrastructures will grow by 40 percent by 2020 as more enterprises pour funds into analytics, storage, and data security.

Are you maximizing the data at your fingertips?

Image Source:Trevor Prentice via Flickr