The Pragmatic Definition Of Big Data

Mike Gualtieri
Vice President, Principal Analyst
December 5, 2012

Big Data Definition, Mike Gualtieri, ForresterForget About The Three Vs

Big data is not defined by how you can measure data in terms of volume, velocity, and variety. The three Vs are just measures of data how much, how fast, and how diverse? A quaint definition of big data to be sure, but not an actionable, complete definition for IT and business professionals. A more pragmatic definition of big data must acknowledge that:

  • Exponential data growth makes it continuously difficult to manage — store, process, and access.
  • Data contains nonobvious information that firms can discover to improve business outcomes.
  • Measures of data are relative; one firm’s big data is another firm’s peanut.

A pragmatic definition of big data must be actionable for both IT and business professionals.

The Definition Of Big Data

Big Data is the frontier of a firm’s ability to store, process, and access (SPA) all the data it needs to operate effectively, make decisions, reduce risks, and serve customers.

To remember the pragmatic definition of big data, think SPA — the three questions of big data:

  • Store. Can you capture and store the data?
  • Process. Can you cleanse, enrich, and analyze the data? 
  • Access. Can you retrieve, search, integrate, and visualize the data?

Hear me explain this definition on a special episode of Forrester TechnoPolitics: The Pragmatic Definition Of Big Data Explained

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