What is Big about Data?

What is big data? Big data analysis? Does it relate to me? I was asked these questions a lot last week. How about we talk “big data”…might want to check out Big Data 101 for more details. What really is big about data and why should we care?

Big data as the name implies is a large, complex set of data. It could be in the form of pictures, emails, structured or unstructured text… “big data” has been in existence I would say forever as organizations and individuals have always gathered a large volume of data for analysis. Now was it termed “big data” then? Maybe not… but I want to say yes 🙂

As mentioned in the big data path, big data cuts across different disciplines. In healthcare, we’ve had major improvements using big data analysis in some countries. Check out Forbes post on how big data is changing healthcare. Even in banking, big data analytics have been used to improve customer experience and offer better services the role of big data in banking  or crime prevention; we have all seen one too many movies on how a crime was stopped based on data analysis using CCTV, criminal records, social media posting and even crime patterns. I had a discussion with a microbiologist friend of mine the other day and she used SPSS while doing her research. This was after she asked, “what is big data?”.

So still thinking have I used any big data technique in my line of work, you most likely have. I am all for #DataForGood. So the question of how does this apply to me? It does…from cookies gather from your search history to understand your shopping preference… Remember those surveys you fill? Yes! You are probably part of the data.


  1. Nice explanation about big data in simple words. As the data is gathered in huge amounts in each day these days. big data will grow in volumes and so are the need for analytical tools to manage them


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