News and Blog

Big Data as a Verb

26 Dec 2012
by Niels Rosenquist
C.E.O Janys Analytics

One important mission of ours at Janys is to demystify (for non-technical audiences) the process of gleaning valuable insights from the deluge of electronic data that is available in real time. One of the most commonly used, yet in our opinion misunderstood, terms in the business lexicon these days is “big data”. There are now innumerable articles, websites, and companies that discuss big data in hyperbolic terms, claiming that access to ever increasing amounts of data will revolutionize businesses through the information that can be generated from it.

While we certainly don’t disagree with the overall sense of bullishness about these new data sources, we do think that this era of big data can easily be misconstrued as simply built upon data volume. The fact is, large data sources have always been available, and while it is true that advances in the computer sciences and hardware engineering have increased access to larger amounts of data, the real revolution has been in the new ways in which data can be stored, analyzed, and manipulated in real time.

There is an old article in The Onion noting the National Science Foundation, after some study, had concluded “science is hard”. This statement should be applied to the process of organizing and analyzing large data streams, something that is even harder in real-time. Simply making the data from sources like Twitter, Facebook, or other locations formatted for any analytic process is a challenge far beyond the spreadsheets and databases many of us grew up and/or work on. Note that it is these manipulations of data, like the redirection of a wild river to organized irrigation fields that is the real challenge. As such, we internally consider big data to be a verb.

Our motto, Noise to Signal™, reflects to us this ongoing process where data can be stored and analyzed efficiently and with the utmost accuracy, a process we consider an art as much as a science. In future posts, we will go into some more detail about we do this at Janys.