Nick Jewell, Data Evangelist at Alteryx explains to Information Age how with the evolution of data analytics technology, ‘Big Data’ can finally deliver Big Business Benefits for companies other than the tech giants. The article explores the various components of data analytics technology that have evolved to make this possible.
It’s been almost nine years since the term ‘Big Data’ was capitalised and coined by computer scientists from the Association for Computing Machinery in a paper called “Visually Exploring Gigabyte Datasets in Real Time”. The paper explored how the purpose of computing is insight, not numbers, and discussed the challenges of ever-growing data sets. Since then, gigabytes have bee§n replaced as the largest unit of data storage no less than five times; and the challenge for the modern business has evolved to delivering tangible results from Big Data insights – rather than just the insights themselves.
After the paper was published, it took some 13 years for the term to enter mainstream circulation, according to Google Trends. Since then, Big Data has largely remained a concept rather than a trusted tool for most businesses. However, with improvements in data analytics technology, this is all changing. In order to understand how Big Data can today help organisations generate Big Business Benefits, let’s take a look at how technology has evolved to make this possible.
Effective data filing
The biggest library in the world would be useless if you couldn’t find the book you were looking for. The same is true of data – you need a way to get at the insights that will have an actual business impact when applied. This was the first challenge that needed to be addressed by the pioneers of data science, who, in the 1950s, created programming languages to allow developers to easily interact with data sets.
These languages have had to keep up with the times, growing in complexity as more and more streams of data needed to be unified and utilised. Nowadays languages such as R or SQL, which have been built specifically to handle huge data sets, form the bedrock of the data analytics platforms which help companies realise the benefits of Big Data.