EY - Big data: changing the way businesses compete and operate

Big opportunities, big challenges

Big data: changing the way businesses compete and operate

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The idea of data creating business value is not new; however, the effective use of data is becoming the basis of competition.

Business has always wanted to derive insights from information to make better, smarter, real time, fact-based decisions: it is this demand for depth of knowledge that has fueled the growth of big data tools and platforms.

Evolving technology has brought data analysis out of IT backrooms and extended the potential of using data-driven results into every facet of an organization.

Big data will fundamentally change the way businesses compete and operate. Companies that invest in and successfully derive value from their data will have a distinct advantage over their competitors — a performance gap that will continue to grow as more relevant data is generated, emerging technologies and digital channels offer better acquisition and delivery mechanisms, and the technologies that enable faster, easier data analysis continue to develop.

What is big data?

Big data refers to the dynamic, large and disparate volumes of data being created by people, tools and machines. It requires new, innovative and scalable technology to collect, host and analytically process the vast amount of data gathered to derive real-time business insights that relate to consumers, risk, profit, performance, productivity management and enhanced shareholder value.

Big data includes information garnered from social media, data from internet-enabled devices (including smartphones and tablets), machine data, video and voice recordings, and the continued preservation and logging of structured and unstructured data. It is typically characterized by the four “V’s”:

  • Volume: the amount of data being created is vast compared to traditional data sources
  • Variety: data comes from different sources and is being created by machines as well as people
  • Velocity: data is being generated extremely fast — a process that never stops, even while we sleep
  • Veracity: big data is sourced from many different places, and as a result you need to test the veracity/quality of the data

The four V’s


EY chart – What is big data? The four Vs

Organizations must understand what insights they need to make good strategic and operational decisions.