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Big Data…Bigger Opportunities!

Lately, we have been hearing more and more about the threats and challenges posed by increasing data volumes. At the same time, we have been hearing about how organizations can leverage data assets as a source of competitive advantage. However, examples are usually limited and generic, and there is nothing like experiencing it firsthand. That is exactly the opportunity that I recently had when visiting Syncsort customer comScore, a leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital business analytics.

Unlike the cookie-cutter examples, comScore’s business is absolutely amazing and a really good example of how a company in Reston, Virginia has built and defined a market by using ‘Big Data’ to help its customers succeed. What makes comScore unique? For starters, they monitor, collect and analyze terabytes of information each day to provide unique insights about users online and offline behavior. The goal is to help its customers understand and profit from their digital assets (i.e. websites, mobile data, social media, etc). To be absolutely clear: comScore’s success depends largely on its ability to quickly and effectively analyze billions of records of information that are coming from multiple sources around the world. This is not a trivial task if you consider that comScore data volumes grew at a whopping 362% in just 1 year as a result of their Unified Digital Measurement initiative, which required the ability to process billions of new census-level server calls. Judging by the numbers – revenues for comScore grew at a pace of 37% in 2010 – they are clearly doing a lot of things right!

The truth is that ‘Big Data’ is relative. One could argue that ‘Big Data’ is really not a new phenomenon. Sixty years ago ‘Big Data’ meant a huge ledger with countless pages of green paper. Whether ‘Big Data’ for you represents terabytes a day – like comScore – or megabytes a day, the key question you need to ask is how can your organization leverage and benefit from all the new information that is constantly created. In the end, ‘Big Data’ represents an even bigger opportunity for companies like comScore that are prepared to embrace it.

Of course, data integration is a critical part of any strategy to successfully leverage ‘Big Data.’ After all, data integration is the technology that behind the scenes makes information available to be consumed by all types of users via BI tools, analytic applications, decision support systems, etc. In the article “Big Data, Big Challenges, Big Opportunities” featured in the March issue of Database Trends and Applications – Performance Management Best Practices, I discuss these and other issues companies like yours are currently facing. Now, I’d like to hear from you. Please feel free to comment on this post and let me know what you think.

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