How big do you want your data?

The Walmart database is estimated to contain 2.5 petabytes of data. That is a 25 followed by 14 zeroes. Which seems pretty big until you look at a real “big data” project, NASA’s climate simulation centre (NCCS) which is 13 times the size. You’d think they would be better at weather forecasts with all that information.

Big data is big news in marketing along with the cloud and mobile. But what if you are worried that your data might not be, ahem, big enough?

The truth is that it is not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it that counts. Lots of organisations have plenty of data that they’re not using. Go looking and you’ll find it in all sorts of places across the business including cardboard boxes (seriously). It goes without saying (almost) that you will need to make sure that you are watertight on data protection issues with anything you use.

More good news is that people dealing with lots of data spend a long time trying to simplify and model it. It has been one of the keys to Tesco’s success. So you are one step ahead of the big data boys already.

Don’t worry if you’re not quite sure where to start or that the data doesn’t look that impressive. Give it to us; we have experience of what can and can’t be done so we’ll give you an honest appraisal.

You may well have the basis for ongoing, targeted communications and for tracking the success of what you’re doing. At the very least, you’ll know how to get started. Ask NASA. It may have big data projects now but Apollo 11 landed on the moon with a computer crunching data that was less powerful than the one in your washing machine.

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