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Is your data smart or just big?

It might be an understatement to say that big data is en vogue. The analytics strategy is at the heart of most businesses' plans for the next few years, with dreams of velocity, veracity, volume and variety inspiring their investments, according to Smart Data Collective. While there isn't always a transparent definition or measurable goal at the outset, most decision-makers are confident they can find value in their big data plans if they bring enough information in. 

Trial and error will work for some, but it may not be an effective plan for firms that operate on thinner bottom lines and need to recognize a return on their investments early. Those companies may find that it's too expensive to buy into the big data hype. 

Although it's unlikely that big data is going anywhere anytime soon, some alternative approaches are emerging, according to Wired Magazine. Smart data is also gaining traction among organizations that want the benefits of big data without hoarding content on their servers, or having to sift through ever-growing piles of information that has not yet been checked for data quality

Smart data is the content that has been filtered by algorithms and checked by address management programs so that the end result is raw information that's been filtered with intelligence, the source reports. 

In fact, many companies will find that they already have a treasure trove of smart data in their systems, according to Silicon Angle. Much of the information they keep stored on their internal databases has been run through these types of filters, so that only the most relevant and rich content is flowing through their platforms. With a wealth of intelligent information about customers, sales figures and online search metrics, companies can filter in content from their big data sources to discover high-impact insights that have an added layer of meaning.