Data Is Big, Did You Know?

Data is big. Big news. Big importance.

How big, you ask? Consider that all the information we have as the human race has been growing since the beginning of time. At the same time, we are enacting more processes every day that add to this growing data, whether on a company or personal level; local or global; text or numerical; in native language or foreign and now digital format, with pictures or video.

Let’s put the sheer volumes of data gathering into some perspective. Back in 2003, it was estimated by Turek, IBM, that between the beginning of time up until 2003, 5 exabytes (5 billion gigabytes) of data was created. By 2011, that same 5 exabytes of data was generated every two days. Forbes in 2015 published “20 Mind-Boggling Facts” indicating that more data was created between 2013 and 2015 than in the entire history of the human race and that “by the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of information will be created every second for every human being on the planet”, “growing from 4.4 zettabytes” (in 2015) “to 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes”.

What are the reasons for this exponential growth in data?

A key factor is the evolution of computing. In the space of just one hundred years, we’ve evolved from the very first, basic tabulating systems to the cognitive, sensory systems we see in today’s world. Progress has been fierce and rapid. We would argue there has never been a more significant advancement in the development of humans as that of computing. It’s changed the ways in which we interact with one another, the ways we process information, and, crucially, the ways, and the speed, at which we do business.

The explosion of data occurs across all platforms. We no longer communicate just in binary or text – why would we, when there are so many more stimulating options out there, such as multimedia, visuals, sensors and hand-held devices? The ways in which we generate, and consume, data have grown and grown, whilst at the same time peoples’ attention spans have shrunk to that of a goldfish, leading to the introduction of even more mediums of communication and data generation and the need for tools, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to process the large amounts of data.

The consequences of Big Data 

Companies, consequently, find themselves having to deal with significant amounts of disparate data available from multiple sources, internally and externally; whether it be from clients, employees, or vendors, from internal operations or growth or caused by mergers, acquisitions etc.

All of this requires significant time spent reconciling and processing data and the use of tools (such as business intelligence, knowledge graphs and machine learning, etc.) to analyse it. How do you make sense of all of it? How do you interpret it in a way that allows you to use it to build a more efficient business model? Who can help you with this? Forbes in 2015 estimated that “less than 0.5% of all data is ever analysed and used”, creating a significant business opportunity.

In this six-blog series, we’re going to talk about the challenges that companies face in managing data and the type of tools available for managing the data. We’re going to tell you why it’s important; and we’re going to explain the benefits of getting a proper handle on your data management.

For this, we’re going to draw on Dessa Glasser, Principal at the Financial Risk Group, working with Virtual Clarity on data strategies, for her knowledge of data management strategies and tools, including the use of Data as a Service (DaaS) – to manage and provision data. Dessa, the former CDO of JPMorgan Chase Asset Management and Deputy Director of the Office of Financial Research (US Treasury), has a wealth of experience in implementing solutions in risk, data and analytics across financial and non-financial firms in both the private and public sector, including enacting operational efficiencies and change management via implementing such tools as DaaS.

Dessa Glasser is a Principal with the Financial Risk Group, and an independent board member of Oppenheimer & Company, who assists Virtual Clarity, Ltd. on data solutions as an Associate. 

Questions? Comments? Talk to us on Twitter @FRGRisk

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