These are just a couple of the questions that have been plaguing industries and enterprises worldwide since the “Big Data” phenomenon surfaced. By now, most of us have heard this buzzword/phrase that has been penetrating the minds of IT and analytics professionals alike. However, many organizations are still unsure how to effectively analyze and gain new insights from it. Luckily, there are expert specialists in this field who are eager to join and guide them through their journey.
What is “Big Data?”
I’ll spare you the formal definition and put it simply: “Big Data” is everything, and it’s everywhere. “Big Data” is defined by (at least) three ‘Vs’: Volume, Velocity and Variety. And you might even hear about a fourth ‘V’ depending on which “Big Data” solution provider you’re talking to.
- zettabytes = as much information as there are grains of sands on all the world’s beaches
- Veracity (IBM) — Accurate, truthful and trustworthy data
- Variability (SAS) — Data flows that may be unpredictable, inconsistent and anomalous
Now that we have a better grasp of what exactly “Big Data” is, I’d like to explore some of the complexities and challenges companies face because of it, as well, as the opportunities it presents.
Challenges & Complexities
The size, requirements, boundaries and resources of an organization, as well as the industry it’s in, can dictate the adoption of “Big Data” in addition to which obstacles will prevent them from extracting high-value impact and gaining new business insights that were previously unattainable.
However, there are a few common challenges despite the nature of the business:
- An abundance and variety of data sources and the information collected
- Inherent complexity in processing, management and aggregation
I intentionally left out a fundamental part of the “Big Data” definition when I talked about the three or four ‘Vs’ of this concept, but this is a perfect place to sneak it in.
IDC’s definition of “Big Data” embraces the hardware, services and software that integrate, organize, manage, analyze and present the data that is characterized by the ‘Vs’ discussed at the beginning of this post.
This is why new technologies and architectures, advanced tools and platforms are needed and are continuing to be developed. These appliances will allow enterprises to leverage “Big Data” and (you guessed it) analytics.
- Technical: Data scientists with an unparalleled level of skill to understand the interactions of a new class of technologies
- Analytics: Data mining; statistics; business analytics; problem solving; creativity
Although there are some hindrances to enterprises fully embracing this new era of “Big Data” and analytics, there are evolving approaches to conquer them. For example, the Google Analytics Premium and BigQuery integration that will be taking place toward the end of this year was just announced at the Google I/O a couple weeks ago. If you’re a GA Premium user, I’ll venture to guess that this made you smile — even if you’re not 100% sure what it’s going to mean for your business.
Check back next week when I’ll discuss what value, advantages, opportunities and possible use cases can arise from utilizing more advanced technologies, solutions, and analytics strategies such as the “Big Data” movement. Stay tuned!
When I met the now legendary Avinash Kaushik for the first time at the Google Mountain View campus in November of 2007, I brought along my copy of Web Analytics: An Hour A Day for him to sign. I was very shy to bust it out in a room of over 100 people, but I finally got the guts and asked him to sign it, which he did! Now the question is: how much is a signed copy of Web Analytics: An Hour A Day worth on eBay? 🙂
The signature, much to the disbelief of every one of my co-workers here at MoreVisibility, does not say “To my #1 biggest fan of all time!”. Instead, a much more valuable, two line exclamation is found: “Trinity Rocks!”. Sorry Tigers, but Avinash was referring to his Trinity Strategy, not the University located in Texas.
The Trinity Strategy is, basically, a way of thinking about Web Analytics in today’s Web 2.0 world. The purpose of this strategy, or mindset, is to obtain actionable insights and actionable metrics from the wonderful world of Web Analytics – specifically, your web analytics data.
As you probably predicted, there are three components to the Trinity Strategy:
1. Behavior – Behavior refers to the analysis of the piles and piles of Web Analytics data that we all collect on a daily basis. A long time ago, in a planet far, far away, marketers would simply want to know how many “clicks” or “hits” their website pages received, and their analysis pretty much ended right there (you remember all of those hits counters at the bottom of website pages, don’t you?). The Behavior component of the Trinity Strategy is intended to get you to look at your Web Analytics data at a different level, and, as Avinash loves saying, to “…take a leap of faith…” and make some educated guesses as to why people did what they did on your website (remember, Web Analytics can tell you the what and the when, the why, and sometimes the how is another story).
2. Outcomes – How well is your website ultimately performing? You wanted 40 leads a month from your pay-per-click marketing campaigns, or 5 sales from the new Banner Ad that you have running out there. Are you getting there? Where (and how) are you falling short? The outcomes component of the Trinity Strategy is to get you to look at your bottom line and really take a look to see if your website is fulfilling its objectives.
3. Experience – Experience is all about a term that is starting to gain popularity in 2008 – VOC, or “Voice of Customer”. What do your customers like or dislike about your website or shopping cart? Which pay-per-click landing page works better than the rest, and which one converts higher than the rest? What frustrations did your customers have on your website, or what made them happy? The Experience component of the Trinity Strategy exists to get you to be a man / woman of the people, with the ultimate goal of improving your website for both your financial benefit and your customer’s web experience.
When you put it all together, you have a strategy – a mindset – that should help your business, your online presence, your email marketing campaigns, and so on. It’s a great strategy if you don’t already have a plan of action, or if you have a plan, but it’s not working and you need to change for the better. And why wouldn’t you want to change for the better?
Take Avinash’s Trinity Strategy, and see if you can apply it to your current online business model. Even if you can’t apply it all at the same time, try at least one part of the Trinity, and see what it can do for you. I promise you won’t be disappointed. At a minimum, you have allowed for a different way of thinking about your online business and presence – although it may not seem immediately useful, the seed of knowledge has been planted.
The Trinity Strategy – Learn it, Live it, and Love it.