In March, I shared my excitement with you about 2013’s sexiest topic – big data. I proudly admitted my obsession with it, so much so I’m holding an event about it in May and to give you an idea of just how extraordinarily huge the stuff is (IBM has stated that we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data a day, with 90% of it being created in the last two years alone).
It’s massive and it is ruling both the online and offline worlds. Brand, business, marketing, recruitment and social – we are all using it. It’s becoming an important part of everybody’s lives and most don’t even realise it yet.
But the information we get from big data – weblogs, social media, smartphone analytics and even medical records – is quite a challenge for brands to capture, manage and process, especially using traditional database systems.
So how are we starting to measure and manage our big data in today’s world? We are using data visualisation and analytics.
According to Friedman (2008) the “main goal of data visualization is to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means. It doesn’t mean that data visualization needs to look boring to be functional or extremely sophisticated to look beautiful. To convey ideas effectively, both aesthetic form and functionality need to go hand in hand, providing insights into a rather sparse and complex data set by communicating its key-aspects in a more intuitive way. “
The term “data visualisation” covers a wide range of techniques and approaches for representing patterns in data visually. For example: CrisisVu is a visually intuitive monitoring tool for Twitter, which effectively presents data to its users in a simple, bird’s eye view, allowing easy control and identification of the key areas of focus. It allows keyword search and a zoom option, so that users are able to find exactly where they are looking for with easy navigation.
Cube19, on the other hand, aims to bring cloud-based business intelligence and predictive analytics to the global small-to-medium-sized market. It has a firm focus on how future performance can be improved.
Data visualisation and analytics is about being able to present data to a particular audience in the most relevant and readable manner. Different types of data have different meanings, and different businesses and individuals have different needs and purposes for it. This means there are different reasons for why companies invest in visualising and analytics.
If you’re not measuring your digital initiatives, how can you manage or optimise them? How can you change the way work and move forward without being able to see what is changing within your business?
The way we digest information is sure evolving and it’s happening for good reason – the data we produce is not slowing down and it is literally taking over the world.