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Press Release -- July 2nd, 2012
Source: Colt Group

Big Data creates big opportunities.

With businesses of all sizes across Europe now embracing the digital economy; with the proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace and the increasing importance of social networking; and with increases in compliance and regulatory obligations, it’s no surprise that 90% of the world’s data has been created over the past two years alone. The need for all businesses to manage and analyse ever increasing quantities of information is here to stay, with significant benefits to be obtained from this information flow. For example, a recent report by McKinsey estimates that retailers could increase operating margins by an impressive 60% if they used big data properly. But what exactly does “using Big Data properly” mean?
What is Big Data?
Officially data becomes Big Data when it is too large to be captured, stored, managed and analysed by traditional software tools. There is no lack of new tools to manage large datasets, but what is key to using it properly is how you collect and analyse that data and when.
Big Data comes in different forms depending upon your industry, your sector and your function.  It could be transactions taking place between the world’s financial markets or the record of every web transaction that has taken place in the last 5 years for a major ecommerce player.  Businesses who embrace the challenges of Big Data and proactively seek to unlock its value can open up competitive advantage. A 360 degree view of customer interactions, rather than a simple list of events, can provide insights into buyer behaviour, allowing for better relationship management and profitability. Analysing the data when it is timely and actionable allows your business to get to market faster and truly differentiate itself in the eyes of the customer.  Big Data then becomes a valuable asset to your business, not just a growing storage and data analytics challenge for the IT Department.
The essentials for dealing with Big Data Self-service has to sit at the heart of data analysis, with employees looking to access real time data on their terms. With the amount of data expected to increase each year, by over 40% annually according to the McKinsey report, that’s no small consideration, especially if the CMO or head of customer service wants to farm that data weekly or daily.
The ability to scale any data solution and the capacity to flex the underlying infrastructure platform that supports it is essential. Big Data means nothing if the right person cannot gain access to this intelligence when it matters.
The responsibility for Big Data cannot be borne by the IT department alone. Working in partnership with the business is key to a successful and profitable outcome. A close working relationship between IT and business leaders, such as with the CMO and the CFO, will mean that the CIO can deliver an appropriate service, rather than just a technology.
Big Data properly used
As well as the required collaboration across a number of business functions, Big Data properly used is a combination of clever analysis of massive data sets and near real-time data processing. To do that well requires a network, storage and compute platform flexible and robust enough to cope – we at Colt call this the Information Delivery Platform.  The rewards for those able to ride this new data wave are enormous. So are the changes in business and technology that are needed to succeed – working in partnership with an IT services provider such as Colt is a key element for anyone embarking on a Big Data strategy.
Read Colt’s whitepaper on the Consumerisation of the Data Centre

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