What is Data and is it Really Valuable?


Data. It’s a technical word that programmers throw around a lot. But is it really anything besides ones and zeroes? Pieces of random information? Bits and bytes?

If you answered anything besides a resounding and earth-shattering “YES,” please go back and check your answer. Data, in itself is the next level up in the information chain. It’s the information you actually use to calculate, analyze, or plan. But you have to know how to evaluate, sift through and make sense of it to gain access to its secrets. When you do, you’ll learn the keys to success in any business.

But to reach that level, you have to understand what data is and what it isn’t. Here are some things to know about data, in general:

Data is usually raw and expansive – Data can be overwhelming the first time you look at it. It comes in large, unorganized amounts. If you don’t organize it, you may find your head spinning.

Data is coming at an unprecedented rate – As we just mentioned, the amount of data you can get on any one subject is overwhelming. One reason for this is speed. The velocity at which we can now receive data, in real time, from online sources, social media and other gadgets is faster than ever before. In fact, According to SINTEF, a scientific research company, 90% of the world’s data has been produced in just the last two years .

Data comes in all formats – Data can be structured, numeric, textual, email, video, audio and financial transactions. Don’t necessarily dismiss it because it didn’t arrive as a number or percentage.

Data has to be refined – In recent years, improved technologies in storage and processing have finally allowed companies to catch up with the overwhelming amount of data, and begin to organize and analyze it.

Data can be learned from – Like crude oil, data needs to be refined before it can become meaningful.
Once refined, a trained statistical analyst can identify relationships among the data attributes. Once these relationships are identified, we can start to can predict certain behaviors.

Data is valuable – It’s in predicting these behaviors that we can create efficiencies, develop new products and be more competitive.

Think about that phrase “predicting behaviors.” If you can predict your participants’ behaviors using real data, in real time, then you can start building the perfect event. No more hunches or guesswork about what event to build, where to create it and how much to charge. That’s big, or as data experts like to call it, “Big Data.” It’s a trend that hasn’t emerged in the endurance industry, but with years of experience and data collected in the endurance industry, ACTIVE Network has the capacity to bring it to you.

Big Data is about to bring big changes to our industry and ACTIVE Network is about to bring it to you.

1 http://www.sintef.no/home/Press-Room/Research-News/Big-Data–for-better-or-worse/