Enterprises today are faced with a flood of data that they could never have imagined a decade ago. Yesterday’s CIO thought cell phones were just for making phone calls. Today’s CIO knows they are powerful hand-held computers that generate massive amounts of data, from taking photos and composing texts, tweets and emails, to scanning QR codes.
Much of the data enterprises are gathering today is unstructured, and that can be a game-changer. Yesterday’s enterprise, with its transactional systems and relational databases, was well poised to collect and store structured data such as sales figures, prices and addresses. But today’s enterprise is gathering more unstructured data from sources such as emails, social media, patient records and legal documents.
The Three Vs of Data
Unstructured data ramps up the three Vs of data: volume, velocity and variety. The three Vs are not limited to big data, although it does put them on steroids. The volume of data, according to IBM’s report “Bringing Big Data to the Enterprise,” is increasing so fast that 90% of the data in the world today was created in the last two years alone. Think of all the data in just one day’s worth of tweets.
The velocity increases as data becomes more time-sensitive. There is greater pressure to decrease the amount of time between data capture and analysis. We now depend on the speed of some of this data. It’s extremely helpful to get an immediate notification from your bank, for example, when a fraudulent transaction is detected, enabling you to cancel your credit card immediately.
P.S. Typepad was down when my last post, on cloud apps becoming the new data shadow systems, was published. If you missed it, you can find it here.