September 20, 2017

Has Big Data Inspired a Data Revolution in Large Companies?

Big Data

The world of Big Data is one that is never far from the news, one impressive stat is that 90% of the World’s Data has been generated since 2015. The sheer volume of data out there is a rather terrifying thought in itself and that is before the regular data breaches, hacker ‘achievements’ and questionable advertising tactics from large conglomerates.

Then there is the social side of things, the attempts made by journalists and politicians to disseminate opinions from the vast echo chamber that is Twitter and invariably coming out with the wrong conclusions.

One Big Data company, Cambridge Analytica, even claimed to have been behind Donald Trump’s election win. They though, may have been onto something.

Understandably, this seismic change has not just affected the individual, it has also resulted in businesses everywhere looking to innovate and to turn something that at first glance seems a little overwhelming into an opportunity.

There is a big difference between the all-encompassing Big Data and Master Data. The latter is succinctly defined by every student’s favourite reference website, Wikipedia:

‘Master data represents the business objects which are agreed on and shared across the enterprise. It can cover relatively static reference data, transactional, unstructured, analytical, hierarchical and meta data. It is the primary focus of the Information Technology (IT) discipline of Master Data Management (MDM).’

OK, so it is clearly very different to Big Data and happily it is far easier to manipulate and make the most of, yet in many business arenas it is only just starting to be embraced now. Perhaps we have the popularity of big data to thank for this change.

Much like its big brother, the reason Master Data is so important is that it allows companies to truly understand the processes, trends and opportunities that they wouldn’t be able to see without taking a step back.

One example was a major US wireless carrier. They wanted to find out why people were calling up their call centres after they had made online payments. By analysing the data they found that people wanted to ensure that even though their payment had been late, that their wireless service would continue to work. Having discovered this, they were able to add a small amount of text to their website to reassure their customers and with that the workload on their call centres dropped off significantly resulting in improved customer service and savings for the carrier.

This is just one of many examples that you can find with a little research online and it is only one particular part of that company’s organisation.

So what can be learnt from this?

In short, in this age of digitalisation where it makes sense to move your processes online, it’s vitally important to ensure the data generated is done so in such a way as to allow future analysis of your department and your company to be successful.

After all, the two most important moments for data is when it is created and when it is used. Getting the initial upload wrong will cause all sorts of pain in the long run.

Big data being so publicly talked about seems to have inspired companies everywhere into embracing the importance of Master Data. This can only be good news.

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