In an interview with Business Insider, Professor Patrick Wolfe stated, “The rate at which we're generating data is rapidly outpacing our ability to analyze it. The trick here is to turn these massive data streams from a liability into a strength.” More and more companies are investing their time into understanding how big data can be used to their advantage in the decision making process; however, in order for communication strategists to leverage big data and turn information into opportunity, they must first understand just what big data is and what makes it different.
Small Data vs. Big Data
According to Forbes, “Small data is a dataset that contains very specific attributes. Small data is used to determine current states and conditions or may be generated by analyzing larger data sets.” Small Data is generally derived from big data and can be utilized for powerful insights. Small data is organized to be easily understood, accessible and presented in a way to be acted upon. Big data, on the other hand can be broken into three specific characteristics: volume, variety and velocity. These three V’s are what sets big data apart from other data. The rate at which available data has been growing continues to reach new heights. The first V, volume, refers to the large amount of available data. The second V, variety, refers to how many types of data are now available; whether it's an infographic, excel table, photos, videos or an SMS. The list goes on. Velocity is the speed in which the data is processed. As the volume and variety of data continues to increase, so does the speed at which data is being processed. In the past, companies analyzed data using what is known as a batch process, but now with the increased sources of data such as social media, the batch process can no longer handle the velocity.
How big data can help communications professionals uncover trends in their industry
Communication professionals need to have a 360 view on their company, their industry, and the new and traditional media. Successfully utilizing the power of big data provides communication professionals with powerful insights that can give them the cutting edge advantage to stay on top of their game. Information allows not only professionals, but people, to make informed decisions and reduce the risk of poor judgement in the decision making process.
The amount of information floating around the web can be overwhelming, but when proper analysis of the information is performed, and the information is organized into actionable tools, companies can form unique insights into what is really going on within their industry.
Information is strength in strategic planning. The more information a company has about their industry, the more rounded their decisions will be. Making educated decisions will help reduce risks and increase productivity while protecting the reputation of a brand. As the company’s self awareness increases, the risks of an unexpected crisis decreases.
Big data and Strategic Planning
There is a reason why big data is a buzzword for communication professionals. When it comes to strategic planning, communication leaders need to know more about the internal and external positioning than arguably even the CEO. Big data, when utilized properly, can be used to design a more comprehensive communication strategy.
Targeted Products and Services
Big data allows for a more in-depth assessment of customers and therefore provides the information necessary to create products or services tailored to the needs of the public. This helps communication professionals strategically position companies for their target market.
As more and more data is being stored in digital form, companies can now perform more comprehensive performance reviews. This allows communication professionals to look back on what has been done, whether it was their company or a competitor, and learn from the mistakes of the past.
The growth of big data means strategic planning can be more rounded than ever before. Companies must find the proper tools and take charge of big data in order to stay on top of their market. As stated in Forbes, “The emergence of big data into the enterprise brings with it a necessary counterpart: agility. Successfully exploiting the value in big data requires experimentation and exploration. Whether creating new products or looking for ways to gain competitive advantage, the job calls for curiosity and an entrepreneurial outlook.” Once a company successfully discovers the power in big data and information they can begin to take the necessary steps to strategically plan for the future.
How SophoTree can help manage Big Data
Volume: With approximately 1.5 million new articles per month, SophoTree carefully de-duplicates repeated information so that its users don’t have to.
Variety: Built-in filtering features allow users to search a vast amount of real-time data in order to eliminate jargon and unreliable sources of information.
Velocity: The platform provides text analysis for multimodal big data to address joint intelligence issues by recognizing solutions in business-relevant media events, prediction, and scenario analysis.