What is Data?
Before we go to Data Management, let me tell you something about data. In today’s technology driven world, it is not wrong to say that everything is driven by data. Data is nothing but information. We may not use the word “data” in our day to day activities, but everything that we say or write is information of some form. For example, we may judge someone upon noticing certain factors about a person. Those certain factors can be termed as data. I could go on and on about how data is related in our life, but in this book I’ll be showcasing how data and data analytics can help in business.
In technical terms, data is a set of values, quantitative or qualitative, but in an unprocessed form. The opposite of raw data, the organized and meaningful data is again termed as Structured Data. The organized structured data usually resides within a record or file and in a fixed field. The advantages of structured data is that it can be easily entered, stored, queried and analysed.
Managing data is easy. First comes Data Management for structured data. It is often managed using SQL –Structured Query Language. SQL is a programming language created for managing and querying data in relational database management systems.
But what if you are surrounded by tons of unstructured data, what next? Unstructured data is exactly the opposite of structured data. Unstructured data files often include text and multimedia content. Examples include e-mail messages, word processing documents, videos, photos, audio files, presentations, webpages and many other kinds of business documents, etc. Unstructured data contain hidden or submerged information that could help organizations make that big leap.
This leads me to next point, data management for unstructured data. An individual or organizations need to use variety of different software tools to help them organize and manage unstructured data. These can include the following:
- Big Data Tools
- Business Intelligence (BI) Tools
- Data Integration Solutions
- Data Visualization Tool
- Information Management Systems
The data management tools, that are for everyone:
Big Data Tools
Big data and big data tools does have a lot of benefits. The main business advantages of big data generally fall into one of three categories:
Big data tools like Hadoop allow businesses to store massive volumes of data at a much cheaper price tag than a traditional database. Companies utilizing big data tools for this benefit typically use Hadoop clusters to augment their current data warehouse, storing long-term data in Hadoop rather than expanding the data warehouse.
One of the major advantages of big data tools is that it gives better access to data that was previously unavailable or difficult to access. With increased access to data sources such as social media streams and clickstream data, businesses can better target their marketing efforts to customers, better predict demand for a certain product, and adapt marketing and advertising messaging in real-time. With these advantages, businesses are able to gain an edge on their competitors and act more quickly and decisively when compared to what rival organizations.
New Business Opportunities
The final benefit of big data analytics tools is the possibility of exploring new business. Mature companies can also take advantage of the data they collect to offer add-on services or to create new product segments that offer additional value to their current customers.
Business Intelligence Tools
The BI tools are application software that are designed to retrieve, analyse, transform and report data. The tools generally read data that have been previously stored, often, though not necessarily, in a data warehouse or data mart. Hence Business Intelligence tools are used as they provide companies, reliable information and true insights in order to improve decision making & social collaboration. The biggest benefits are:
- Improve the overall performance of the organization.
- Making fact-based decisions becomes easier.
- Right Visualizations with BI tools lead to enhanced business.
- Easy monitoring and reporting of your genuine KPIs using role-based dashboards.
Data Integration Solutions
Data integration becomes increasingly important in cases of merging systems of two companies or consolidating applications within one company to provide a unified view of the company’s data assets. The data integration helps immensely in building an enterprise’s data warehouse. This enables an organization to perform business analysis based on the data in the data warehouse.
Data Visualization Tool
Presentation of data in a pictorial or graphical format can be termed as Data Visualization. Data visualization dashboard enables people to see analytics presented visually, so they can grasp difficult concepts. Data Visualization dashboards now, have even evolved to another stage with the help of visualization tools – moving beyond the display of static graphics, dashboards and spreadsheets to using computers and mobile devices to drill down into charts and graphs for more details, and interactive Business Intelligence dashboards changing what data you see and how it is processed.
As more and more data is collected and analysed, decision makers at all levels welcome data visualization software that enables them to see analytical results presented visually, find relevance among the millions of variables, communicate concepts and hypotheses to others, and even predict the future.
Information Management System
Information Management System (IMS) provides and improves efficiency and effectiveness of a strategic decision. It is a general term for software designed to facilitate the storage, organization and retrieval of information. An IMS database uses segments, or data blocks, as building blocks of the hierarchical model. Within each segment are multiple data pieces, which are known as fields. At the top of the hierarchy, the segment is known as the root segment. Segments of a specific segment are known as child segments. The child segment order represents the order in which each entry is entered in a database.
Hierarchical IMS databases generally come in three forms:
- Full function database: Derived from the Data Language Interface (DL/I), this database form may have more than one single access method. Overflow Sequential Access Method (OSAM) or Virtual Storage Access Method (VSAM) may be used to store and access database fields.
- Fast path database: Designed to facilitate an optimum transaction rate. Examples are data entry databases (DEDB) and main storage databases (MSDB).
High availability large databases (HALDB): Handles large volumes of data and provides reliable availability for each piece of data in the database.
Every business executive, be it in any industry, aims for one and only thing—company’s success. While the cutting edge solutions, robust products coupled with advanced infrastructure and innovative business minds vastly contribute to the underlying aim, but these factors majorly rely on the incoming data.
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