Chapter 2

Why Big Data Matters

Knowing what Big Data is and knowing its value are two different things. Even with an understanding of Big Data analytics, the value of the information can still be difficult to visualize. At first glance, the well of structured, unstructured, and semistructured data seems almost unfathomable, with each bucket drawn being little more than a mishmash of unrelated data elements.

Finding what matters and why it matters is one of the first steps in drinking from the well of Big Data and the key to avoid drowning in information. However, this question still remains: Why does Big Data matter? It seems difficult to answer for small and medium businesses, especially those that have shunned business intelligence solutions in the past and have come to rely on other methods to develop their markets and meet their goals.

For the enterprise market, Big Data analytics has proven its value, and examples abound. Companies such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google have come to rely on Big Data analytics as part of their primary marketing schemes as well as a means of servicing their customers better.

For example, Amazon has leveraged its Big Data well to create an extremely accurate representation of what products a customer should buy. Amazon accomplishes that by storing each customer’s searches and purchases and almost any other piece of information available, and then applying algorithms to that information to compare one customer’s information with all of the other ...

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