Harnessing Collective Intelligence in Decision Making through Big Data AnalyticsSmart Data CollectiveDecision! Decision! Decision! What a hazardous and difficult human endeavor it is!
Decision! Decision! Decision! What a hazardous and difficult human endeavor it is! Those of us who had to make decisions in personal life, business or profession know that the chance of our decision producing the desired end-result is always in doubt. This is so mainly because decision made today fructify tomorrow. If all decision makers were clairvoyant no one would make wrong decisions – making decisions would be a routine job.
Unfortunately this is never going to happen. We will keep making wrong decisions as we do today. However, we could enhance, in a substantial way, our chances of making the right decision by reviewing everything that is happening now or has happened in the past relating to our target area of activity. Of course, this may be a tall order to follow but in the information age that we are living in, it seems feasible. There is so much data available at diverse sources that if we evolve a scientific and feasible way of disseminating all this data we will find answers to our queries as we have never been able to do so before. The ‘way’ we mentioned above is the ‘Big Data Analytics’.
Genesis of Big Data
Big Data, one of the hottest IT buzzwords of 2012, has emerged as a new technology paradigm to address the volume, velocity and variability of massive data coming from different sources. The social media is one well known source of big data. A somewhat less known source but big nonetheless is the data generated by data acquisition systems (DAS) in machinery and structures in the field of engineering. Large volumes of data are also being generated by health monitoring devices of interest to medical professionals. There are (many) other sources too. Within this heaps of massive data, there is treasure of information that can be extracted for saving major disasters, accidents, outbreak of epidemics, etc. In the field of business and marketing, big data available through the ‘social network’ is already being proactively used in propelling growth of businesses.
Businesses have been relying on tools such as Business Intelligence (BI) dashboards and reports for decisions based on transactional data stored in relational databases. With evolution of social media, we started seeing emergence of non-traditional, less structured data such as weblogs, social media feeds, email, sensors, photographs and YouTube videos that can be analyzed for useful information. With reduction of cost in both storage and compute power, it is now feasible to store and analyze this data, as well, for meaningful purposes. As a result, it is important that businesses cast a new look at the extended range of data, i.e. Big Data, for business intelligence and for decision making.