You’ll hear the words “big data” a LOT at the EMC World conference in Las Vegas this week. And for good reason: by 2020, more than 40%+ of today’s enterprise companies won’t exist* – and big data is part of the reason.

The world is becoming more and more connected. The Internet of Everything (IoE) is advancing. Every business, city, and country is becoming digital. The result is that the volume of data being generated is growing exponentially. Consider that, by some estimates, 99.4% of the physical objects that may be part of the IoE are still unconnected.**

How your company uses this vast amount of data – how you access it, manage it, protect it, secure it, and run applications to extract business value from it – will determine whether your company is one of the 60% who make it or one of the 40% who don’t.

It’s that simple.

However, as with many industry concepts (think “Cloud”) and technologies (think “virtualization”), there’s a lot of noise around Big Data – about what it is and isn’t, why and how companies should leverage it, and what this all means for your data center and business going forward. More specifically, what type of transformation is in store for all of us from a technology and process standpoint?

All this chatter is creating confusion and, in some cases, causing misinformation to be circulated.

For example, some companies have the impression that Big Data:
Is only about managing big volumes of data … petabytes, zettabytes, or more.

  • Is only a big company concern.
  • Is only an IT concern.
  • All three are not true.

As I was preparing to write this blog, I read a short article by Forbes’ contributing writer Christopher Versace, “The Big Deal About Big Data And What It Means For IT And You.”

In this article, Versace defines Big Data as “the explosion of digitized data – created by people, machines, sensors, etc. – that acts as an audit trail, capturing what is happening in and amongst humans, machines, markets, natural systems, and the like.”

Others have defined Big Data more simply “as a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represent a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.”****

Versace also speaks to the big opportunity Big Data presents to companies as they “start to understand the potential Big Data has to drive unprecedented improvements in their business.”

Yes, indeed! Big Data represents big opportunity and big value to all businesses – large, midsize and small. As I’ve written previously, it isn’t really how big “Big Data” is that matters, but how a company leverages it (e.g., a small company’s terabyte-sized data volumes can have as much or more potential value to them as a large company’s petabyte- or zettabyte-sized volumes do).

In fact, studies show that companies who leverage Big Data for business benefit – that is, those whose businesses are data-driven – are more productive and profitable than those that aren’t.

How much more? I’ve read 5% and 6% more, respectively.*** But it’s early.

As we begin to identify existing, current and new sources of data and learn how to pool and mine these resources, I expect these numbers will rise, and fast.

Bottom-line: The learning curve for Big Data is steep, but the incentives are undeniable. Over the course of the next few months, we’ll share key insights from our Big Data journey with customers and partners. So, come back and visit us. Or come see us at EMC World (Booth #129). Either way, we’re anxious to have a conversation with you about Big Data.

*Babson Olin School of Business, Fast Company
**Cisco, IBSG, 2013.
****What Is Big Data, Forbes, 2013.

Related Business Solution:  Cloud Services