With rapid advancement in technology there has been an explosion in the amount of data collected by businesses of all kinds in recent years which is redefining the dynamics of global industry in a big way. To put things in perspective, it is important to understand that traditionally businesses used to collect data and analyze it to understand business processes better and improve their products and services accordingly. However, today the means of communication, interaction, exchanging information, financial transactions and operational systems have diversified so much that there is barely any limit to the amount of data placed at the disposal of businesses.
This availability of massive data can be immensely useful to businesses if they can understand what it means. However, traditional database and software techniques to store and analyze the data are not equipped well enough to deal with such unprecedented amounts of data. To store and analyze this new form of data an urgent need for novel technologies was felt which we would discuss later but before that it would be crucial to understand what makes this data so unique and sets it apart from traditional forms of data.
What is Big Data?
Simply put, the sheer volume, velocity and variety of data being collected exceeds the capacity of traditional data storage and processing systems. This is why the term Big Data was used to describe it. A few fitting examples of this would be millions of transactions taking place in multi-billion global fast food chains every hour of the day, millions of social media interactions taking place every day and billions of mobile phones being used across the world every day to make calls, send messages, pictures, internet browsing and for interacting with online global community in a number of ways.
Another aspect which differentiates Big Data is that it includes massive amounts of both structured and unstructured data and for latter type of data, traditional methods certainly do not offer much in terms of analytical capabilities. Interpreting this data and gaining useful insights from it is a huge task in and of itself requiring use of advanced data management and analysis tools and techniques for the purpose.
Making Sense of Big Data:
Statistical Analysis System (SAS®) is an integrated software system that boasts of advanced data management, statistical analysis, data mining and other capabilities which are a prerequisite for handling Big Data. SAS® is widely employed by companies to convert data into meaningful information through predictive analytics and help with business planning, forecasting and decision-making as well. It facilitates the efficient storage of large amounts of data, and the torrential speed at which data is arriving does not pose an obstacle in terms of processing.
Data could be in diverse formats ranging from structured to relatively unstructured forms and SAS® knows how to get it sorted. Additionally, it is equipped to handle the aspects of variability and complexity of this data. Variability refers to inconsistent data flows which do not follow any specific pattern and can display periodic peaks which make it exceptionally difficult to handle data efficiently. Complexity refers to virtually countless number of sources from where data is arriving, which makes establishing hierarchies and correlations that much more difficult.
What Makes Big Data Analysis So Significant?
It would be relevant to question why spend so much effort on analyzing Big Data and the answer lies in the value Big Data Analytics helps to create. It may help with:
- Identifying issues with business processes without losing much time
- Detecting possible fraudulent activities which could prevent possible losses
- Making advanced risk assessment for specific processes
- Understanding subtleties of consumer behavior
- Make processes more cost-effective through better understanding of real-world functionality
- Save time on critical processes through useful data insights
Having understood the role of Big Data Analytics, it would not be difficult to appreciate the market demand for professionals with proficiency in SAS® applications. To create a standard framework for validating capabilities of a professional in managing and utilizing SAS® functionalities, two critical certifications were devised.
These certifications are SAS® Base and SAS® Advanced, which are meant to introduce professionals to fundamentals of SAS® and equip them with advanced SAS® functionalities respectively. Multisoft Virtual Academy offers a comprehensive online training program for SAS Base and SAS® Advanced and to get more information on these courses you can visit official SAS® website.