Big Data

Topics: Data, Online shopping, Data management Pages: 10 (3377 words) Published: April 19, 2013
Essay 1
A look at almost any of the marketing magazines from the last six months will uncover a large number of articles on “big data”. Examine the subject and discuss how it is relevant to companies like Tesco.

Introduction to Big Data

In 2012, the concept of ‘Big Data’ became widely debated issue as we now live in the information and Internet based era where everyday up to 2.5 Exabyte (=1 billion GB) of data were created, and the number is doubling every 40 months (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2012). According to a recent research from IBM (2012), 90 percent of the data in the world has been created in the last two years alone, and Internet activity in each second today will generate more data than all the data combined in the Internet 20 years ago.

Networks and the cloud technology allow processing power and data storage cost to be at a relatively low price which result in the huge database collection and global access (Press, 2012). By developing algorithms, Big Data enable us to have a better prediction of what will happen in the future based on previous data and allow us to make better decisions (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2012). The emerging data-driven economy can be categorised by two main characteristics which are the abundance and complex data, and the real time speed of change (Johnson, 2012).

Big Data is not just about being large in size but also about the variety of both structured and unstructured data. “It can be captured, communicated, aggregated, stored and analyzed which is now becoming part of the function of the global economy” (Brown et al. 2011, p.4). Like Brown said, Big Data can be derived from anything and anywhere. It is not just the closed structured data processed in highly organised databases by corporations, but also those unstructured data from web-browsing trails, post on social media websites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records both online and offline, sensor signals to GPS tracking system which have proven to be crucial in revealing insights about consumer behaviour (Cron, 2012). Data becomes more available and more understandable with better technology; it allows company to measure and monitor how people behave and how machine operated in order to learn more about these data (Lohr, 2012).

Although Big Data is not totally a new concept, but it is the new way of representing data, creating a significant change in the way we recognise data, allowing the discovery of untapped benefits for organisations (Davey, 2012). As of now, The Big Data movement is all about extracting insightful data to turn it into business advantage (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2012). The challenge in using these data is the ability to distinguish between useful information and noise, and to effectively turn good data into meaningful information that organisations can harness to improve performance and increase profit. However, it is critical, in exploiting Big Data, to be able to identify whether or not the data has become insignificant because it is out of date.

Big Data and The Modern World

For many companies, data used to be undervalued assets but today, data has become the representation of the ultimate challenge and opportunity for businesses to grow (Munford, 2012). Businesses can now collect data across different functions, from partners to suppliers and most importantly from their clients. New and better technology allow businesses to more effectively analysed Big Data through a more sophisticated algorithm (Brown et al., 2011). The analysis of large-scale data is the new competitive edge for businesses today. A study conducted by Brynjolfsson & McAfee (2012) shows a positive correlation between the level of data usage and performance both in financial and operational terms. This shows that the company that is capable of using Big Data effectively will result in a better performance based on its...

References: Anon, 2012. How Tesco is using big data to keep customers loyal [online]. Available from: [Accessed 2 January 2012].
Brown, B., Chui, M. and Manyika, J., 2011. Are You Ready for ‘Big Data’?. McKinsey Quarterly, (4), pp.24-34.
Brown, B., Bughin, J., Byers, A., Chui, M., Dobbs, R., Chui, M., Roxburgh, C., and Manyika, J., 2011. Big Data : The next frontier for innovation, competitio, and productivity. McKinsey Global Institute Research, pp.11-146.
Brynjolfsson, E. & McAfee, A., 2012. Big Data: The Management Revolution. Harvard Business Review, 90 (10), pp. 60-66,68,128.
Corn, A. and Nguyen, H. and Parameswaran, A., 2012. Big Data. The AMC Magazine for Student, 19 (1), pp. 7-8.
Davey, N., 2012. What is Big Data and how can it be applied for marketing? [online]. Available from: [Accessed 28 December 2012].
Grant, I., 2012. Tesco uses customer data to stride ahead of competition [online]. Available from: [Accessed 2 January 2013].
IDC, 2012, Open Wide: Global Digital Information [online]. The Economist. Available from: [Accessed 28 December 2012].
Johnson, E., 2012. Big Data + Big Analytic = Big Opportunity. Financial Executive, 28(6), pp. 50-54.
Lohr, S., 2012. The Age of Big Data [online]. The NewYork Times. Available from: [Accessed 28 December 2012].
Lohr, S., 2012. Sure, Big Data Is Great. But So Is Intuition [online]. The NewYork Times. Available from: [Accessed 28 December 2012].
Mervis, J., 2012. Agencies Rally to Tackle Big Data. Science, 336 (6077), pp. 22.
Miller, P., 2012. Tesco uses data for more than just loyalty cards [online]. Available from: [Accessed 2 January 2012].
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