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Big Data is Not About Size, but Relevance

The concept of Big Data fundamentally changed how companies operated in 2013, although many executives based their decision-making on myths surrounding Big Data that emerged when the phenomenon first gained prominence. A recent Information Management report covered some of these myths, noting that the volume of data collected played a big role in how organizations perceived the movement.

Many experts initially described Big Data as being characterized by the three Vs: volume, velocity, and variety. Volume, in particular, has influenced the way companies perceive and approach the strategies, likely because the "ig" in Big Data seems relevant. In general, executives believed the more resources they collected and analyzed in 2013, the better their chances of developing a competitive advantage, Information Management reported. Unfortunately, this isn't necessarily true, and organizations need to understand that fact if they are to succeed in 2014.

The first thing businesses must understand about Big Data is that all information is different. Although some assets can be analyzed and provide massive return and opportunity, other resources may be irrelevant and could actually slow down the business intelligence process rather than providing usable insight and advantages.

The bottom line: quality over quantity
Business decision-makers must take the initiative to prioritize quality over quantity because simply gathering as much information as possible and hoping it provides some benefits isn't an effective way to approach Big Data. Instead, executives should fully understand their long-term expectations and break information into smaller chunks, which will make analyzing, storing, and managing digital resources less complex.

Breaking data volumes down can also give IT executives a better chance to properly categorize assets. In doing so, teams may be able to assess which resources will introduce benefits relating to their firms' long-term objectives and which information sets may turn out to be useless.

Big Data will undoubtedly continue to gain momentum in 2014, especially after experiencing such success in 2013. If companies want to truly benefit from the movement, however, decision-makers must understand what they expect to get out of the projects and how only certain information assets will be helpful. Rather than blindly aggregating as much data as possible and throwing it into various on-site or cloud infrastructure environments, executives should act deliberately and understand how their actions can impact the bottom line in a positive or negative way.

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