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In today’s business landscape, data is the key ingredient to long-term growth. However, specialized tools and software are required to translate data into actionable insights. Without it, the data is effectively worthless.
A recent report from Sigma Computing found that 63% of enterprise employees cannot gather insights from their data in the required timeframe, which means the data is more of a productivity inhibitor than a productivity booster. The right tool will provide valuable information and meet your business needs without being too cost-prohibitive.
What Is Big Data?
Big data describes the information that businesses use to automate processes, uncover high-level patterns, and innovate products or services. It is in contrast with traditional data sets, which are typically more homogenous, simpler, and less valuable.
At its core, big data is comprised of three concepts known as the Three V’s:
- Volume: The collective amount of data from a wide range of sources
- Variety: How the data is formatted (structured versus unstructured)
- Velocity: The rate at which the data is received and processed
Big data requires more advanced software and more computing power to process than traditional data sets, so a business that is looking to leverage big data should be prepared to make significant investments in the technology and the IT staff to manage it. However, big data is also more robust and precise, so it can provide more business value and opportunities in the long term.
What Is Big Data Analytics?
Big data analytics describes the techniques and technologies that are used to analyze very large, diverse data sets. Enterprises can use big data analytics tools to process structured, unstructured, or semi-structured data from multiple sources. Without these tools, big data would be impossible to manage.
In addition to processing data sets, big data analytics methodologies and tools are involved with data visualization, business forecasting, and data-driven decision making. Unlike traditional data technologies, these tools take the raw data one step further by giving it context and meaning. Instead of a mere repository of individual records, big data analytics tools help organizations look at the bigger picture the data creates.
What Are the Best Big Data Tools?
There are a variety of big data tools that help organizations with analytics. Some are all-in-one solutions, whereas others are more focused on a specific area like data visualization or data integration.
Tableau is a leading data visualization software that data analysts and business intelligence teams use to create engaging graphic representations of their data. It connects to data from a wide range of sources quickly and efficiently and has one of the most advanced feature sets on the market.
Although Tableau says its interface is built to meet any user’s skill level, many customers have reported that general users need a bit more training to get the most out of the platform. Experienced data analysts, however, shouldn’t have any trouble navigating Tableau to set it up and start digging into the data.