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Latest news and insights on consumer behavior in the offline world

Useful Data vs. Big Data

Posted by David Webber on 12/20/13 9:56 AM

4.1 zettabytes. That’s the amount of data generated worldwide since January 1, 2013, according to the IDC (http://www.emc.com/leadership/digital-universe/index.htm). To put that number in perspective, that’s 4.1 billion terabytes, enough for every human in the world (all 7.1 billion of us) to have a typical hard-drive (500 GB) full to the brim with data. It’s no wonder that “Big Data” has been trending on Google since 2011.

In the next decade the volume of information will only increase. It’s no longer a matter of having enough data, but of having useful data. Useful data that allows us to answer the right questions and add value to our businesses and personal lives.

What makes data useful? The exact characteristics depend on who you ask, but to me useful data is: relevant, complete, accurate, current, accessible, and economical. Increasing any one of these characteristics makes data more useful, and data having all six characteristics is invaluable to decision-making.

Relevant: The data pertains to the problem or decision at hand. Irrelevant data with no bearing on the situation is just needless clutter.

Complete: The data should sufficiently describe the situation without being overly complex or overwhelming.

Accurate: The data should describe the true situation without being biased by measurement errors or selection criteria.

Current: The data is recent, and arrives in a timely fashion.

Accessible: It’s easy to view the data, and it’s presented in a way that’s easy to understand.

Economical: The data is worth more than it cost to produce it.

At Scanalytics, we create and deliver valuable data to our clients by touching on each of the above points. We capture relevant data by measuring customer engagement in a live setting. Our team works with clients to be sure we have a complete and accurate picture of customer engagement. We keep our data current and accessible by providing a real-time online dashboard. Finally, our low-cost system helps our clients accurately measure engagement time and conversion rates, telling you what works to improve your bottom line.

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