• Nick Court

The big data revolution

Sorry…I lured you in with a title that uses a buzz word/phrase and also an exclamation mark!

This blog is about Big Data but more about why you don’t need to worry about it too much.

Big Data is big news in big business (and in small to medium and possibly also in very big businesses too). but although the phrase Big Data is thrust upon you and stated that you must join the revolution and manage it…I wonder do you actually have any?

What is big data?

The wonderful Whatis.com says:

Big data is an evolving term that describes any voluminous amount of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data that has the potential to be mined for information. Although big data doesn’t refer to any specific quantity, the term is often used when speaking about petabytes and exabytes of data.

And the ever-faithful Wikipedia :

Big data is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. Challenges include analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualisation, and information privacy. The term often refers simply to the use of predictive analytics or other certain advanced methods to extract value from data, and seldom to a particular size of data set. Accuracy in big data may lead to more confident decision making. And better decisions can mean greater operational efficiency, cost reductions and reduced risk.

So it looks like Big Data is pretty big! or maybe its pretty complex! Or maybe it is both!

In the world of HR, we are told that our big data is absence analysis, payroll costs, pensions and benefits and Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh My! (ok maybe not the last 3)

Now I have a passion for simplification and I am still to be convinced that this is big data in its truest sense, At best maybe its medium data and at worst its probably quite small data.

Why do I say this?

The majority of HR data is held in HR systems, T&A systems, Pensions Systems and maybe in spreadsheets that someone knocked up and you now use even though the man in IT would have a fit about you using unsupported tools to hold sensitive data!

The issue here is not the access to data, or even the ability for the systems to produce the right data for you, it's about you knowing what data you need, having that data presented to you in a way that you understand and enabling you to make decisions on this.

So let's be clear, analysing your payroll data to see that Bob from finance is always off work on the second Friday after payday during the football season is important – it is not Big Data

Seeing that there is a correlation between landing communications about your benefits system and an increase in take-up is very useful – it is not Big Data

Analysing the global movements of raw mined tin, through a multinational production process, across borders and through various distribution routes to ensure that the tin you use was not mined in a mine run by some drug lord – That is Big Data

All this information is in your systems somewhere (maybe not the stuff about tin) but if your skill is not in data analysis then maybe you need someone in your team who does have that skill.

Lots of data is not big data its just lots of data – Cloud9 People can help you cut through some of your data woes, we can develop systems to help you manage the data you have and how you want it presented back to you or we can use your systems to help you and your people understand the data better.

Go to http://www.cloud9people.co.uk and click contact us – let's have a coffee and a chat.

Don’t Panic it is going to be ok

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