Building Your Big Data Infrastructure: 4 Key Components Every Business Needs To Consider
Big data can bring huge benefits to businesses of all sizes. However, as with any business project, proper preparation and planning is essential, especially when it comes to infrastructure. Until recently it was hard for companies to get into big data without making heavy infrastructure investments (expensive data warehouses, software, analytics staff, etc.). But times have changed. Cloud computing in particular has opened up a lot of options for using big data, as it means businesses can tap into big data without having to invest in massive on-site storage and data processing facilities.
In order to get going with big data and turn it into insights and business value, it’s likely you’ll need to make investments in the following key infrastructure elements: data collection, data storage, data analysis, and data visualization/output. Let’s look at each area in turn.
This is where the data arrives at your company. It includes everything from your sales records, customer database, feedback, social media channels, marketing lists, email archives and any data gleaned from monitoring or measuring aspects of your operations. You may already have the data you need, but chances are you need to source some or all of the data required.
If you do need to source new data, this may require new infrastructure investments. Infrastructure requirements for capturing data depend on the type or types of data required, but key options might include: sensors (that could sit in devices, machines, buildings, or on vehicles, packaging, or anywhere else you would like to capture data from); apps which generate user data (for example, a customer app which allows customers to order more easily); CCTV video; beacons (such as iBeacons from Apple , which allow you to capture and transmit data to and from mobile phones); changes to your website that prompt customers for more information; and social media profiles.
With a little technical knowledge, you can set many of these systems up yourself, or you can partner with a data company to set up the systems and capture the data on your behalf. Accessing external data sources, such as social media sites, may require little or no infrastructure changes on your part, since you’re accessing data that someone else is capturing and managing. If you’ve got a computer and an internet connection, you’re pretty much good to go.