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As big data proliferates, challenges and advantages emerge

Paul Newman Archive

While big data might still be the most significant buzzword  in the IT industry, it's likely that this won't always be the case. Cell phones and the internet once seemed like game-changing technologies, but they have fallen into place in everyday life and most people can't imagine what they would do without them. Although there is still confusion about big data's exact definition and how strictly it should be governed with data quality tools or address management programs, those pieces will fall into place over time.

In with the old... and in with the new?
Data integration is among the problems companies grapple with when they invest in new analytics strategies. 

"You could have completely unrelated systems that might not be able to communicate or transmit data effectively between them," Bernard Soriano, deputy director of risk management at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), told Government Technology. "For instance, a project might need to extract some data points from a mainframe system and others from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet."

The news source explains that many databases will not automatically be able to transmit flawless data from an older system to a new system because the platforms have different methods for storing and organizing information. 

Too much of a good thing is bad
If this important factor isn't performed correctly, data users might end up with a duplication problem, according to Data Center Knowledge. This error can crop up for a number of reasons, including the unchecked transfer of data from one platform to another. It can also take place during back-ups.

In some cases, multiple entries are made for the same information simply because users fail to activate features that remove duplicate data entries, the source adds. Although prevention is simple, the consequences are not as forgiving. Some firms don't notice until it's too late and all of the storage space has been consumed and must be replaced. 

Proper integration generating results already
The impact of big data is already being recognized by some organizations, such as the police and intelligence services in the United Kingdom, according to Susan Watts from BBC News. They are leveraging big data because the clearest patterns emerge when more information has been collected and there are good ways to analyze it.

Watts explains that analysts can find links between times and dates or people and events from the useful information that's hiding in huge data volumes. This might ultimately help agencies identify criminal rings that exist across and outside of national boarders and crack down on crime. 

Police in Kent are taking a proactive approach to save officers' time and organizational resources since costs have been cut, she adds. Human behavior and risk can indicate where crimes might occur in the future. They hope to cut crime 3 percent, or 3,000 cases a year.