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What is Big Data and Business Intelligence and Why Should Businesses Care?

Posted: Oct 1, 2015
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Big Data and Business Intelligence

Big Data and Business Intelligence are a hot topic right now in IT and business circles. However, it can be a difficult subject to grasp based on what you might read from different technology vendors and business analysts. This is because, depending on how you use the term, Big Data can mean different things to different professionals, depending on the context. It should also be clarified at the start - Big Data does not only apply to big companies, but small businesses as well. 

The current growth of data requires that businesses not only have IT solutions in place to deal with the volume, but also be able to offer access to the data to be able to create metrics that provide actionable insights to improve business strategies and the bottom line.  

In the realm of IT, and by the technical definition, “Big data refers to the volume, variety and velocity of structured and unstructured data pouring through networks into processors and storage devices, along with the conversion of such data into business advice for enterprises,” according to 
Gartner, an IT analysis firm. 

The increasing amount of this business data is stressing IT systems, which are struggling to store and secure information with methods of management that are still being developed as they are being deployed. But, to collect and store all of this data is only part of the potential solution. To further complicate the situation for IT departments, for Big Data to provide companies with intelligence, this information also needs to be accessible to everyone in an organization, at any time, to provide timely and relevant insights that drive innovation and improve business strategies. 

This brings us to our second definition of Big Data, which is from a Business Analyst’s perspective. And that is, that Big Data refers to finding fresh business insights from new sources of data that were not practical to collect and analyze before; whether it be traffic on internal networks, visitors to websites and social channels, or cell phone and GPS information. The major impact is that businesses can now learn what services and products to offer where, when and to whom. Peter Fingan, an executive at Greystone Group, even goes so far as to say that “Big Data (is) the most important thing for business since the Internet.”


Microsoft Big Data and SQL Server

Our partner, Microsoft, has a solution for the management and utilization of Big Data of all types and sizes. The foundation of this integrated cloud-ready information platform is SQL Server, which helps businesses confidently extend data across mission critical networks, both on-premises and in the cloud, as well as unlock breakthrough insights across entire organizations. In addition, SQL Server is a comparatively affordable option in the marketplace, making it a popular choice for data management. 


SQL Server, when employed along with Office and SharePoint, supports the data warehousing needs of Big Data, as well as organizational ease of use. When accessed through the familiar Office user experience, it can provide businesses with credible, consistent data to support analysis. By facilitating organizations to make sense of business data on their own terms, and within their own context, Microsoft Big Data can help provide transformative insights and breakthroughs to businesses both large and small.

Maximize an Organizations' ROI on Big Data in 3 Steps

Microsoft Big Data empowers end users to gain insights from any data with the familiar tools they use every day.  They believe that data goes through a process or lifecycle called the "Data Science Process," and by following this process, businesses can maximize their ROI on data. This 3 step process is…

  1. To drive the best business decisions, allow easy access to any type of data - not only to IT departments, but end users too.
  2. To make it easier for people within the business to create and model a theory, refine it and reveal those invaluable insights to the organization. By engaging more people through the powerful tools that they're familiar with, there is a smaller learning curve, and deeper business intelligence is revealed more quickly than ever before.
  3. To create repeatable business processes that deliver insights automatically by deploying the "Data Science Process" across a complete data platform. Companies should see an ROI on their data, and by operationalizing data science processes, they initiate a practice that allows them to see those returns.

To leverage the optimum benefits of Microsoft SQL Server, Big Data and Business Intelligence, the technology they run on must be regularly maintained and upgraded. It makes perfect sense. So, why is the same rule not consistently applied to the people that keep companies moving, growing, and implementing the upgrades? 


Want to Learn More? Attend Our Free Webinar on October 14th

"Big Data - How to Leverage Non-Traditional Data for Decision Support"

Big Data is here, and Microsoft's Big Data platform can be a valuable tool to help your company make sense out of the overwhelming amount of data generated by a growing set of sources like websites, social media, smart grids, and more. Join Senior Technical Instructor Rich Currey for a complete overview of the latest and greatest Big Data & Business Intelligence solutions currently available from Microsoft, including SQL Server, Azure, and its Hadoop-powered analytics components.

Wednesday, October 14th @1PM, EDT - Register Today!

The ROI and benefits of Big Data and Business Intelligence are clear to understand. Training and encouraging professional growth in the individuals who implement the technology only adds value to the organizations they serve and increases ROI. Is it time for your organization to increase your business intelligence and upgrade the skills of your team? 

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