Big data is an indispensable tool for companies across industries. It can provide high value across departments, from marketing to human resources, sales, and more. But what is big data exactly, and how can business owners leverage it for their own companies?

According to Investopedia, the broad definition of big data is:

“the large, diverse sets of information that grow at ever-increasing rates.”

To expand, industry pioneer Doug Laney further describes the term as possessing the following three qualities:

  1. Volume: Massive quantities produced by various sources (e.g. social media, smartphones, etc.)
  2. Velocity: Real-time generation of data.
  3. Variety: The diversity of data available, from structured to unstructured and semi-structured.

However, Laney’s three Vs date back to 2001. In the meantime, other experts have added characteristics such as:

  • Variability (continuous movement);
  • Veracity (potential to be uncertain);
  • Value (self-explanatory).

What are some of the top types of big data to use in business?

Firstly, the “structured” category includes billing information, address, and age. A company’s human resources department, for example, can greatly benefit from it.

As far as sales and marketing, this information can help with customer analytics, product innovation, and compliance.

By leveraging it, businesses can generate higher-quality leads and build a more effective sales cycle.

Although complicated algorithms are involved, entrepreneurs can outsource or hire in-house experts for gathering and interpreting data to grow their business.

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