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The Four V’s of Big Data

I have written about big data before. On how it is revolutionizing our life and can provide well-run businesses a competitive edge. Indeed, how we acquire, organize, analyze and use data determines how effectively we can compete in what is an increasingly volatile and uncertain world. There are clear steps in the process, from ingestion through to storage, analysis and visualization, hopefully leading to decisions. But what are the characteristics of what we call “big data?” Volume By one estimate we are generating more that 2.3 trillion gigabytes of data every day. We’re onto measuring data in “petabytes” which is a mind-boggling metric to most laymen. Velocity The rate at which data is created is the next major dimension. How fast it comes in and how fast it takes us to process, analyze and use it. Variety The number of sources or incoming vectors is another critical dimension. This denotes having a multi-faceted view from various sources (CRM systems, social media, call center logs etc). Veracity Keeping the data organized and “clean” is another all important dimension. We all know the tendency for errors to snowball, hence the importance of eliminating noise for accuracy and consistency.

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