Big data is something that executives are racing to understand and utilize on a day-to-day basis to improve their companies. As more and more data streams into data centers across the world, we are tasked with the challenge of using it in a constructive and beneficial way for business and society as a whole. There most common definition of big data was coined by industry leader Doug Laney. He broke the definition up into the three Vs:

Velocity-Data comes in at an alarming rate and needs to be analyzed as soon as possible. Each year technology is making it easier for us to analyze the data in real time.

Variety-Data does not come in one specific format. It can be structured in traditional databases or unstructured documents such as text, email, video, and audio formats.

Volume-Data comes from many different sources and there is a lot of it, hence the term “Big Data.” New technologies are making it easier to compress and store the waves of data coming in.

For a long time, the data was compiled, and not a whole lot was done with it. In recent years, technologies have allowed us to use big data to streamline processes, discover trends, and even catch criminals. Big data has a bright future as it is something we are only recently understanding. Look for it to play a big role in the following ways in 2017.

Cloud Computing

Companies of all sizes are strategizing on ways to take their applications to the cloud, and the same goes for big data analytics. The ability to host data on the cloud instead of in data centers not only gives greater flexibility to companies in terms of where the data is stored, but it also allows those companies to move to a subscription-based service instead of signing multi-year deals on equipment to store data. Cloud service providers are now offering big data processing platforms, which makes the transition much easier.

Real-Time Analytics

Now that big data has been compiled and technology is getting better at sorting that data, executives are going to be making a push towards getting real-time analytics. Having the data is great, but the business world does not slow down or stop for anything, and if executives can have the data results in real time it will give them better insight into the next step they can take.

Incorporation of Dark Data

There is a huge amount of dark data that could be beneficial to companies, but it has yet to be cataloged and analyzed. So many companies have piles of physical documents, videos, and important corporate files that have yet to be converted to digital data. There will be a strong push to add all of these documents to databases in 2017 to help give a more comprehensive view of performance trends and cycles through the history of the company.

The future of big data is bright and exciting, and the technology that is being developed to analyze it will only improve its functions moving forward. Look for big data to play a more significant role in business and society in the coming years.