Big Data

Big Data 

This article is basically to explain what is meant when the term "Big Data" is said in conversations and what are the main characteristics of "Big Data". Although this buzz word has been going on for years but it is still confusing for some non-users of big data what this term is 

To explain big data, I prefer McKinsey's definition – big data” refers to “datasets whose size is beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage, and analyze.” 

The amount of data being created and stored in today's world is unbelievable and keeps growing. We generate massive stock market and bank transaction, social media data and more. The potential of using this data in business is beyond imagination and could have great impact on the bottom-line if used correct 

So, what are the characteristics of Big data? 

Big data is known with the 4Vs but every now and again some more Vs are addedSo, let me introduce you to the 4 key Vs of "Big Data" 

Volume: This is the amount of data captured from different systems, platforms, sensors, databases and more. The amount of data produced in today's world is huge.   

Variety: Data is stored in different formats. The first is structured which is the traditional numeric data in databases and tables. The second is unstructured as video, audio and text. The third is semi-structured which is data having structured and unstructured features for example XML files  

Velocity: Data is generated in such a quick pace that the velocity is impressive. Sensors get data every sub-second, social media data as well as machines and mobile devices are continuously creating data. Business can now benefit from real-time data when taking critical decisions. 

Veracity/VariabilityTo what extent the data is robust and can be used. With incomplete fields, misspelled information and wrong descriptions this can be a challenge when using data. Those are the biases and noises that the team need to clean to get correct information. 

There are other Vs that describe big data as value, visualization and others but those are the 4 major Vs of Big Data in a nutshell. 


Looking forward to your thoughts on the topic whether through @FatemaElWakeel or LinkedIn   


Fatema El-Wakeel, CMA, MBA 

Institute of Management Accountants (US) UK Chapter – Founder and President 

Institute of Management Accountants (US) Cairo Chapter – Founder and Past-President 

Manchester Business School – VP Events Banking and Finance Society – Full Time MBA Class 2015