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4.4: Big Data and Data Visualization

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    84127
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    Big Data

    Almost all software programs require data to do anything useful. For example, if you are editing a document in a word processor such as Microsoft Word, the document you are working on is the data. The word-processing software can manipulate the data: create a new document, duplicate a document, or modify a document. Some other examples of data are: an MP3 music file, a video file, a spreadsheet, a web page, a social media post, and an e-book.

    Recently, big data has been capturing the attention of all types of organizations. The term refers to such massively large data sets that conventional data processing technologies do not have sufficient power to analyze them. For example, Walmart must process millions customer transactions every hour across the world. Storing and analyzing that much data is beyond the power of traditional data management tools. Understanding and developing the best tools and techniques to manage and analyze these large data sets are a problem that governments and businesses alike are trying to solve.

    Finding Value in Data: Business Intelligence

    With the rise of Big Data and a myriad of new tools and techniques at their disposal, businesses are learning how to use information to their advantage. The term business intelligence is used to describe the process that organizations use to take data they are collecting and analyze it in the hopes of obtaining a competitive advantage. Besides using their own data, stored in data warehouses (see below), firms often purchase information from data brokers to get a big-picture understanding of their industries and the economy. The results of these analyses can drive organizational strategies and provide competitive advantage.

    Data Visualization

    Data visualization is the graphical representation of information and data. These graphical representations (such as charts, graphs, and maps) can quickly summarize data in a way that is more intuitive and can lead to new insights and understandings. Just as a picture of a landscape can convey much more than a paragraph of text attempting to describe it, graphical representation of data can quickly make meaning of large amounts of data. Many times, visualizing data is the first step towards a deeper analysis and understanding of the data collected by an organization. Examples of data visualization software include Tableau and Google Data Studio.


    This page titled 4.4: Big Data and Data Visualization is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by David T. Bourgeois (Saylor Foundation) .

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