Finally: more data about big data!


We know that big data is growing fast, but did you realize just how fast it’s increasing? As we increasingly add unstructured data from social networks, mobile devices, sensors, smart meters and financial systems, experts at IDC predict that the digital universe will grow to 2.7 zettabytes in 2012, up 48% from 2011. And by 2015, we may be looking at 8 zettabytes of data. Zettabytes are huge, equaling one sextillion bytes, or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.

And just this week, during the launch of IBM’s Smarter Analytics initiative, executives were talking about yottabytes – that’s a 1 followed by 24 zeros, or 1,000 times more data than a zettabyte!

This boggles the mind.

As recently as 2009, IDC and EMC estimated that the entire internet comprised about half a zettabyte of data.

Quite a bit of this new data is coming from social networks – including this blog and the tweet or Facebook post that may have brought you here. Every 60 seconds, an estimated 600 new blog posts are published, and 34,000 tweets are sent. That means in an hour, 36,000 new posts are created, and over 2 million tweets.

And that’s just on average. Big Twitter events – the Super Bowl, awards shows, or even earthquakes – can generate many, many more tweets per second. (At least until the Fail Whale shows up.)

More interesting than the raw numbers, though, is how organizations are beginning to report a tangible, competitive advantage from their data.

Businesses actively analyzing their data are 2.2 times more likely to outperform their peers, according to a study by IBM and MIT Sloan. And as organizations become more sophisticated with their analytics, the results become even more impressive, with 1.6 times more revenue growth, 2.0 times more profit, and 2.5 times more stock price appreciation.

Yesterday’s Smarter Analytics Leadership Summit dug into the implications of analytics and big data. Bridget van Kralingen’s presentation, starting about 31 minutes in, was particularly interesting. She talked about how our mindsets have to change as we transition to a world with an abundance of insight. Watch the on demand replay – and think about how much data was created just since you woke up this morning.

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