Category: Data

What is big data?

Big data refers to larger than normal volumes of data, whether refined or raw, and with the potential to inundate your business. The quantity of data and number of sources do not matter as much as the quality of data, and the way it is used for the benefit of the business. It’s not data for data’s sake, it should be analysed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves.

Business data comes from many sources including:

  • Business transactions
  • Social Media
  • Sensor/Machine to Machine data
  • Technologies such as Hadoop have allowed this data to be collected and understood

With large amounts of data being processed at any given time, there’s need to for it to be analysed immediately.

Bluetooth beacons, RFID tags, sensors and smart metering are driving the need to deal with the torrent of data in near real time.

Data comes in all forms, from structured numeric data in traditional databases to unstructured text documents, email, video and audio.

Why is big data important?

Big data allows data to be taken from any source and analysed for the purpose of:

  1. Cost reductions.
  2. Time reductions.
  3. New Product development and optimised offerings.
  4. Smart decision making.
  5. Identifying issues and defects in real time
  6. Detecting and preventing fraudulent activity in real time.

Uses of big data

Banks typically deal with large amounts of data in real time whether transactional or customer service data, there’s a need for innovative ways to make data relevant and actionable. When properly collected, this data enhances customer understanding and satisfaction. The data ensures that the risk of fraud is reduced and regulatory compliance upheld.

Educators informed by data can make a significant impact on school systems, students and curriculums. Armed with relevant data, they can identify at risk students and implement better evaluation systems for staff.

In Africa, Eneza education enhances learner’s educational experience through the use of mobile devices. Students subscribe to daily questions through USSD or an android app, they complete evaluations and are graded. This has allowed tracking of students and remedial adjustments where necessary. Endeza has captured 1.8 million students with expansive plans to reach 50 million students.

When government agencies harness and apply analytics to their data, they become more efficient in managing their processes.
The Ghanaian Government has been innovative with its National ID card rollout. The card will provide access to healthcare, education and employment, and deal with the plight of unregistered children and adults. Millions are forecast to enrol for the new ID’s. Armed with this data, the Ghanaian government shall draw from a vast pool of demographic data. This will allow varied data to be gathered on millions of people, allowing for improved public services to Ghanaian’s at large.

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