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Not sure exactly what big data is? You're not alone

Rachel Wheeler Archive
The term "big data" has become a catch-all buzzword, spanning industries that hope to capitalize on its potential to generate highly targeted, actionable insight. However, many interested parties still have trouble explaining exactly what big data is and how they can best harness it to derive strong results.

Big data is an enormous collection of unstructured digital information - which is roughly doubling every year and a half - that can be organized and filtered using data quality tools to predict future behaviors, as the Star Tribune explains. This capability holds great potential for companies as a way to break away from decision-making based on hunches and gut instincts, instead allowing users to gain insights that are evidence-based.

This can be used to in a number of ways, from determining alternate routes when using a global position system for directions and learning about the most strategic location for a cash register in a store to identifying groups of people who are most likely to be affected by a contagious outbreak, the source explains.

However, for this information to be accessible, companies must determine the best ways to structure it, Computer World adds. Implementing proper data governance will give that unwieldy amount of information the value businesses are seeking.