Why not Gargantuan Data?
So much is being written about Big Data these days. You are seeing it in industry reports, on the evening news and everywhere else you turn these days. The government is funding millions in grant and VC firms are now funding tech start-ups around the Big Data concept. What is interesting is that when you look at industry reports on the total spend on Big Data in 2013 and the next few years, most estimates are in the low billions?
In some ways, this seems strange to me that forecasts for total spend are so low compared to all the hype. However, it does not seem so strange when you realize that most lay people are thoroughly confused by the term Big Data – me included. While you can look it up on Wikipedia – it is tough to wrap your arms around.
We have been told that data keeps growing exponentially and that suddenly Big Data is a reality. When I think of that statement – it is confounding. We should not be calling it Big Data, but Bigger Data. As in, we have more data this year than last year, we will have more data next year than this year and so on and so on. However – Bigger Data just does not have the same ring to it. Why not just blow right past Big and call it “Gargantuan Data”. Clearly, Gargantuan Data has got to be bigger than Big data.
From a pure analytics stand-point, the data analyst will almost always tell you that the more data and information there is – the better. On one hand – this is generally a true statement. However, it does not escape the fact that data, Big or Small, is completely useless until you use and apply the data in a meaningful way.
McKinsey recently stated that Big Data is poised to reduce expense by over $450 million for the health care industry. I don’t doubt that, but to think that Big Data is responsible kind of clouds what is going. The fact is, our databases are getting larger, our database technologies are getting faster and more efficient and our ability to put it all to work is getting easier. We have been making progress on these fronts for years and decades and will continue to do so in the ears to come.
The topic that is of much more interest to me is not Big Data, but how we are able to digest Unstructured Data. If we can figure that one out, it will make Big Data look like Small Potatoes. More to come on that topic.
– Adam J. Elliott