"Big data" is what companies call the intimidating flood of data that pours in endlessly in today's electronically connected, information-reliant world. Those who can harness that flow—using data to analyze, comprehend, and predict the environment around them—can help nourish and grow organizations large and small, driving strategy and solutions in industries ranging from healthcare to financial services.

Frequently Asked Questions About Data Analytics

What is data analytics? +

Data analytics is the process of transforming vast amounts of raw data into constructive, actionable information.

To derive insights from large amounts of data, a data analyst must store, manage, sort, structure, and mine the data using highly sophisticated tools. The analyst can then apply refined data analysis to discover trends and influence business decisions.

Why is data analytics important? +

The ever-increasing generation of data has rendered it unmanageable by traditional means, and the diversity of data sources makes finding insights even more complex.

What is big data? +

Big data is used to describe a vast quantity of data that is so large that it becomes too difficult to manage using traditional technologies. Big data is commonly defined using the three Vs:

  • Volume: The vast amount of data available, which leads to storage and management issues.
  • Velocity: How fast data is being produced and aggregated and how fast the data must be processed to meet demand.
  • Variety: The number of types and sources of data, which can be structured and unstructured and can come from virtually anywhere.

Data analytics make it possible to extract a fourth V: Value.

Where does big data come from? +

Just as the volume of big data keeps growing, so do the sources. From commercial transactions to social media posts, personal data to weather patterns, nearly all data today is being tracked and recorded. It is up to data analysts to uncover the real potential.

How big is big data? +

According to IBM, people create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.

Why is big data important? +

Great strides have been made in the gathering, storage, and security of big data, but the real opportunity is in the data analysis.

Its application is virtually limitless, and will shape the world we live in, from the way we interact on a personal level to how businesses and governments evolve. The increased use of big data in virtually every sector has created a talent gap for data analysts.