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Understanding Big Data and Smart Data

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What Is Big Data?

Big data refers to all data that is collected (structured, semi-structured, and unstructured). These are large, complex data sets that are often uncontextualized. Typically, they are defined by the five Vs:

  • Value: The intrinsic value offered by the data; what insights the data offers.
  • Variety: How diverse the data is.
  • Volume: The amount of data. 
  • Velocity: How quickly the data is received and moved. 
  • Veracity: The accuracy and quality of data.

The Importance of Big Data

Data is growing at an incomprehensible rate. From 2020 to 2021 alone, there was an increase in internet population by .7 billion (compared to .2 billion from 2018-2020). With user growth increasing so rapidly, the amount of data produced is objectively shocking. In 2021, 79 zettabytes of data were produced, copied, and consumed. (If you’re grappling with picturing how large a zettabyte truly is, you’re not the only one. Check out this mind-boggling video to get a visual representation of its size.)

So, what exactly is being done with this colossal amount of data? Data centers are used to store large data sets. Once stored, data is analyzed for information of value. Traditionally, the collection of big data was used for a myriad of reasons: to inform and improve the decision-making process, to drive innovation and discovery, to better the customer experience, to optimize business operations, and more. From the stats we saw earlier, we can glean where big data’s name derived…it’s big. As the volume of data continues to increase exponentially, it is becoming substantially more difficult to store and use. While valuable information lives within big data, traditional processing software can no longer effectively manage or analyze the data to extract its value. With all this data unable to be processed by traditional data processing software, we must ask:

“What is the purpose of big data if you can’t do anything with it?”

From this question, smart data was born.

What Is Smart Data?

Smart data is a subset of big data. Focused more on qualitative measures, smart data is filtered down to offer a more manageable set of data insights. One of the five Vs that big data is comprised of is value. When data sets grow too large, their value diminishes. By setting usable parameters (structure), data can be sifted through and reduced to provide only relevant information. 

The Importance of Smart Data

Data isn’t going anywhere. It’s growing at a pace faster than our technologies can keep up with. The concept of big data was originally introduced around the mid-2000s as a way for businesses to harness insights gained from data sets. The past 20+ years have been a whirlwind of technological advancement, innovation, and data growth. 

As the world relents to change, businesses must follow suit. 

Any business that relies on decade-old technology will undoubtedly succumb to its competition. By leveraging smart data, it’s possible to accomplish what big data once set out to do: optimize workflows, reduce costs, assess risks, inform decisions, and more. Unlike big data, the more smart data amassed, the higher the value. 

Using Smart Data to Improve Your Business

Businesses are bred out of the need to solve a problem. In the same way that big data is less valuable if you can’t do anything with it, ERPs are less valuable if they can’t tell you what you don’t already know. If data can’t communicate new information, how will problems be solved? With smart data. 

Many businesses use an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to collect and manage data. Even though ERPs are foundational to the management and success of a company, the technology hasn’t advanced in nearly 30 years. Fortunately, the long-awaited need to revolutionize outdated ERPs has arrived. Recurrency, an artificial intelligence integration for ERPs, leverages smart data to propel businesses forward. 

Legacy ERPs that collect and store data merely serve as a system of record. As is, the data is unable to provide new insights. Recurrency produces smart data by collecting, cleaning, and analyzing existing data. Once a system of record, now a system of intelligence, Recurrency offers keen insights and analysis to help businesses make data-driven decisions. 

In a world that revolves around data, it’s time to get smart. Recurrency can help.