Overcome big data dread: how visual analytics makes your data work for you

By John Farrelly, SAS Ireland

Have you ever played buzzword bingo? You make a list of overused yet little-understood words and tick them off over the course of a meeting. You’ll know the kind of thing: leverage, blue-sky thinking, bandwidth…I could go on. There’s one I’d like to add to the list: big data.

While the term ‘big data’ is on everyone’s lips, many people are still in the dark about what it actually means to them, or how to extract business value from it. Most managers and frontline staff are still uncomfortable working with data at all, let alone the enigmatic big data – seeing it as the reserve of IT specialists and analysts.

I call this: ‘big data dread’. It’s understandable as, until recently, data analytics really was the reserve of specialists. But, today, technologies such as high-performance analytics and visual analytics mean anyone can work with big data to find answers that add value to their day-to-day roles.

But let’s take a step back and look at what we mean by big data. Big data is usually defined as the 3Vs: volume, variety and velocity. However, it’s important to stress that big data is relative to an organisation’s ability to unlock the 4th V: value. Whatever your size, if your business can’t unlock the potential value in your data, you’ve got a big data problem.

So how do you unlock the 4th V? The answer is visual analytics, which transform big data from thousands of rows and columns into meaningful visualisations. This allows non-analytical users to explore massive amounts of data and see connections and trends that would otherwise be hidden from the human eye.

This interaction between the right people and the right information is where the true value in big data lies. It removes data fear, enabling managers to challenge assumptions, ask fresh questions and anticipate what’s coming.

With visual analytics, we no longer need to work around constraints that belong in the past. By treating data as the asset class it is, and connecting it with qualitative information, you can derive greater insights that enable you to challenge the status quo, make better decisions and align your resources. So there’s no need to feel the fear: it’s time to grab big data by the horns.

Try SAS Visual Analytics for yourself with our online demos. Or read my colleague Martin Duffy’s tips on how to get your big data analytics projects off to the right start.

 

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 70,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW® .

data servers
So how do you unlock the 4th V? The answer is visual analytics, which transform big data from thousands of rows and columns into meaningful visualisations. This allows non-analytical users to explore massive amounts of data and see connections and trends that would otherwise be hidden from the human eye.

Back to Top