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How Big is Big Data?

What exactly is this "Big Data" you keep hearing about? Why should you understand its potential? And most importantly, how can it help your organisation?

Big Data refers to large data sets that have to be processed and analysed in order to uncover valuable information that can benefit businesses. These sets are massive, both structured and unstructured and are transmitted from a vast range of sources.

In 2001, Gartner analyst Doug Laney listed the 3 V's of Big Data, accounting for its main characteristics:

  • Variety: the diverse sources and formats data is collected from, such as text, numbers, images, video or audio.

  • Velocity: the lighting speed at which the incoming data must be processed and analysed.

  • Volume: the huge amounts of data being stored - we are not talking gigabytes and terabytes, but petabytes and zettabytes.



The finance industry, as well as the insurance industry, benefit greatly from Big Data analytics when it comes to fraud detection, risk assessments, or credit rankings, among other several uses.

Increasing cybersecurity efforts with the help of Big Data is becoming more and more popular, while financial institutions have improved customer service initiatives with customised financial opportunities for their clients.


Advancements in healthcare are now faster and more accurate due to Big Data. Having access to enormous amounts of patient and demographics data, healthcare is improving existing treatments, performing more effective research on diseases or developing new medication.


Any personalised recommendations you enjoy when browsing Netflix or any other streaming services are a result of proper use of Big Data.

Entertainment companies analyse our viewing habits and preferences, according to which they are able to provide personalised experiences for us.

Since we mentioned Netflix already, they even use data to generate graphics, titles or colors and design a great customer experience!


Especially in recent years, using Big Data has been essential for companies in order to outperform their competition. As you have certainly heard on several occasions, knowledge is power - and data can provide all the knowledge you need to build yourself a rock-solid competitive advantage.

Have a look over 3 examples of big names of the business world and how they take advantage advantage of Big Data.

Coca-Cola: Customer Acquisition and Retention

Big Data analytics is the basis behind Coca-Cola's effort of customer acquisition and retention - staying connected to consumers has proven essential for the Coca-Cola Company in the age of digital transformation.

Consumers from all around the world are able to share their opinions and suggestions by phone, email or social networks, allowing Coca-Cola to efficiently hear their voice and adjust their future strategies accordingly.

Additionally, collecting and interpreting enormous amounts of data from different corners of the world have allowed Coca-Cola to also adjust their marketing approaches to different audiences, creating more relevant content for each of them and ultimately keeping their interest alive.

Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods: Innovative Product Development

Innovation and product improvement go hand in hand with understanding your customer's needs, as detailed in the previous section.

The new concept of Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods is an ideal example of how can Big Data help improve the product development process.

Amazon leverages Big Data analytics to move into a large market - Amazon Whole Foods is now able to understand how customers purchase groceries, but also how suppliers interact with the grocer. This type of data proves to be fundamental when it comes to implementing future changes.

PepsiCo: Efficient Supply Chain Management

Big Data can also provide supplier networks with greater process insights and accuracy, achieving clarity across the supply chain and overcoming limitations that are now a matter of the past.

PepsiCo is one of the companies that rely on substantial volumes of data in order to ensure efficient supply management. More specifically, PepsiCo has committed to replenishing its retailers' stocks with no more, no less than the right amount and volume of products, shipped at the right time.

In order to do so, the company's clients provide accurate reports containing their warehouse and POS inventories, data that PepsiCo uses to forecast future production and shipment requirements.

In recent years, Big Data has emerged and evolved to become a powerful tool for businesses, regardless of their size, priorities or industry. Efficient data usage opens up doors towards new possibilities such as improved operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, drive for innovation and many, many other perks waiting to be further explored.

Learn more about the challenges of architecting a data-driven organisation and how to overcome them at the second edition of the Data & AI Sofa Summit.



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