Big data: Turning static into sense

Big data: Turning static into sense

Big data is becoming cool. No, really. (Really!) 

shane gibson optimalbi big data idealog​Big data is emerging as one of the latest megatrends (more on that later in the mag). Shane Gibson, the owner of data intelligence agency OptimalBI, attributes the growing interest to key technological changes in the way data is collated.

“Big data is becoming cool, because we are seeing the ability to gather and use data from sensors that we have never had before,” Gibson says. “Such as more than 74 sensors within a car monitoring tyre pressure, speed, driver alertness based on oxygen usage generating up to 250GB of data per car per hour.”

But quantity doesn’t immediately translate into a practicable tool for a business owner. In its initial state, a huge mass of recently collected data could be compared to the static on an untuned television: we can see something, but it’s completely unintelligible.

“There’s no point in having a big data pond if you don’t understand what it does, what it means or what it is capable of. What’s really important is extracting value and insight from this big data, and in turn providing actionable information that improves decision making.”

Easier said than done – business owners often rely on traditional methods to scour through huge amounts of data, which have been collected with modern technological tools.

“People manually trawling through data currently spend about 80 percent of their time on collection and only 20 percent on analysing. [And] as you deal with more and more silos of data, it exponentially increases the time it takes to work with this data,” he explains.

This approach not only produces poor analytical results but also leads to wastage, in the sense that some data is never analysed at all – meaning the initial investment in data collection never pays off. So, in an effort to remedy this problem, Gibson and his team of data scientists (an actual job title) have devised MagnumBI, a colourfully named new offering that automates traditionally labour-heavy processes.

“MagnumBI is business intelligence made simple: less cost, less time, less risk compared to the traditional approaches. Things such as Amazon Web Services enable us to deliver MagnumBI at a tenth of the price [charged by] service providers or available on-premise hardware,” he says.

“With an automated process, such as what OptimalBI delivers through their MagnumBI offering, [data analysis] is the other way around: 20 percent on management and 80 percentage on analysing and discovery, understanding and translating what insight the data provides for the business.

“By reducing the time and effort to deliver the traditional data approach, organisations can spend the rest of their time and money innovating and testing in the new data world.”