For the past few years, the term “big data” has been tossed around as cavalierly as the term “cloud”. Like actual clouds, the terms are more ethereal than substantial. Despite the imprecise use of the term big data, it is in fact quite real and of great importance. Because big data can be either structured or unstructured the need to organize it and integrate it are essential to capitalizing on it.
The three Vs; volume, velocity and variety are regularly used to describe different aspects of big data.
- Volume- refers to the amount of data to be analyzed.
- Velocity- is the measure of how quickly raw data enters the system.
- Variety – Thanks to both its diverse sources, unstructured nature, and varied end uses the mixture of data can be untidy.
The cost, in time, manpower, and in building an expertise in managing big data can be overwhelming for some enterprises to manage in-house. Fortunately, outsourcing and Software as a Service (SaaS) are also viable alternatives. Cloud-based solutions have gone a long way toward making big data easier to manage, more accessible, and more secure.
The fact of the matter is the cloud in the context of big data storage is a real brick and mortar place. It is equipped with state of the art infrastructure and software making it far more secure and reliable than most on-site solutions.
In the past, a business’ data might be arbitrarily split between b2b data stored in a CRM (customer relationship management) system and customer (b2c) data relegated to a data warehouse. A significant shortcoming of this practice is that the absence of a complete picture of all of an enterprise’ data.
Realigning resources and centralizing data in a master location with mechanisms to log data will make it readily available in the future. Even though the freshly organized data can not impact the past it can serve as an invaluable resource for analyzing the future. Centralized data repositories do this by having all of the data organized and ready to be transferred directly into the enterprise’s marketing tools.
Master Data Management
A better way to store and analyze disparate data is to maintain it in a single location. Master data management ( MDM) allows administrators to streamline standards and tools across data sets. Thereby reducing costs and improving accessibility. Another significant advantage comes from the ability to eliminate inconsistencies, incorrect data, and duplicate information.
A single authoritative master source of data can eliminate erroneous customer contacts that result from data segmentation. For example a bank customer who has a checking account and a mortgage with the same
institution. Segmented data can cause the customer to receive a solicitation for mortgages based on their presence on the checking account data set. An effective MDM would be able to identify the multiple points of contact the customer has with the bank and prevent unnecessary customer contact.
An often overlooked consideration for centralized data repositories is their enhanced security and reliability. Thanks in no small part to economies of scale MDM is able to provide substantially improved system redundancy that extends well beyond simple backups and include greater cyber-security and alternative power sources. These enhancements go a long way to ensuring that a data is ready and available when it is needed.
Big Data is Not a Cure-All
Big data alone will not fix all of an enterprise’s ills, but it can go a long way to helping identify and correct shortcomings. Francis Bacon summed up the importance of big data when he said; “knowledge is power.” The best way to harness the power of big data is with the equally large solution of master data management. By creating a single authoritative view of data unwieldy and costly duplications are eliminated. MDM reduces the risk of loss of key data components that can occur as the quantity of data collected increases because of the superior hardware and software architecture afforded by master data management.
MDM creates an agile information environment that is capable of exploiting the volume, velocity and variety of big data. It supports strategic decisions by providing a 360-degree view of data. By obtaining a fuller picture of relationships, enterprises can effectively deliver custom content. A master data management system can’t promise success, but it can guarantee an enterprise the ability to succeed.