4 years ago

What Are Data Lakes and Why Do Businesses Need Them?

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According to Forbes.com, we create around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily. This is quite an understatement considering that the Internet of Things is getting bigger each passing second.

Granted, a business will not be able to generate that much data, but it relies on big data for a lot of things. Every department, from HR to finance, to marketing, to sales, and even operations need big data to be more competitive and perform at their best.

Each business has its own big data strategies. Each uses a different set of tools to process big data. But how are companies handling all data they are using?


Data Lakes to the Rescue

Data lakes are repositories that store and source data from a variety of sources. Data lakes store data in their native formats and do not process any data immediately. As such, these repositories can easily hold gazillions of data without bogging down your network or using too many resources.

Data lakes only process data when you tell it to. This sets it apart from data warehouses, which analyzes and processes all data that comes into it.

Data lakes are your best bet if you want an efficient way to store all your data, manage your resources easily, and prepare data quickly.


You Need a Data Lake

Some big data solutions include a data warehouse. Does that mean that you no longer need a data lake?


As we have noted in our introduction, a lot of data is generated every day and it’s going to grow by several folds. And as data continues to grow and to be generated at neck-breaking speed, you will need a data lake that can efficiently store all of these data and still make use of your resources efficiently.

The Four Reasons Why You Should Have a Data Lake

But what are the four compelling reasons why you should invest in a data lake?

  1. Majority of data we have now was generated during the past few years.

In 2018, the Forbes article note that 90 percent of data created was generated in the past two years alone. While the numbers are surprising, we all expected it. The 2010s saw the smartphone becoming a part of daily life, and people were using mobile apps, social media, and streaming video and audio content. They were playing games and creating their own content.

Businesses joined the fray and came up with their own apps. They are in constant communication with people’s smartphones, whether to provide instructions, or controlling appliances. Their products were transmitting information, such as user metrics and usage details.

What’s more, there is now an increasing number of people who are using a mobile device. It is estimated that 3.5 billion people will own smartphones in 2020, which has seen a steadily upward trend. In 2016, only 2.5 billion people owned and used a smartphone.

In 2019, 5G data networks started operating. This means that people will be enjoying higher speeds and bandwidths like never before and, as such, will generate more data more than ever.

  1. Most businesses have unstructured data.

Gone are the days when all your company’s data are in spreadsheets that have definite fields and an easy-to-follow structure. Today, 95 percent of all businesses gather, manage, and store unstructured data from a variety of sources. The problem with unstructured data is that it is very difficult to search through it, much more analyze and sort it without preparing it first.

What’s more, unstructured data is not just text. It can be video or audio files, social media posts, and documents.

In short, there are a lot of data out there that a data warehouse cannot handle as efficiently as a data lake.

  1. Americans use 4.4 gigabytes of data per minute.

Domo estimates that Americans use 4.4 gigabytes of data every minute in 2018. And that’s just in the US. Imagine the numbers worldwide.

Around 265.9 million Americans owned a smartphone in 2019, and that number is seen to climb up to 272.6 million this year.

These smartphones are busybodies too. It’s getting weather updates, checking e-mails, pushing data, getting you connected on social media, checking your location, gathering your usage patterns on apps, receiving images from social media and chat apps, and downloading the latest OS or app version. These things happen in the background, so you can just imagine just how much more data a user actively using his or her smartphone will generate.

Data lakes allow businesses to get all the data that their customers and target buyers are generating when they have available, accessible, and safe storage.

  1. Big data will change the way you do sales.

It will seem that the biggest reason for getting a data lake is that you can get all the data you can get and store it without bogging down your systems. But why do you need to get all that data in the first place anyway?

According to this McKinsey report, one in two businesses will tell you that big data helps them sell their products more effectively. When data is analyzed they can gain insights into how their customers act and buy, and what influences them in their purchase decisions. It’s a whole lot quicker, easier, and less expensive than having to do focus group discussions.

The data allows them to get insights into just about anything. Plus, they don’t have to be current customers for their data to be available to the company. As such, the business can target non-customers and get them into the door.

What kind of data does a business get? Everything. Businesses will know what sites they came from, how long they stayed on a page, what features they were interested in, what products they’ve looked at, and even where they went after visiting your website.

Even better, the benefits of big data don’t stop with sales and marketing. You can also use it to improve your processes for risk management, human resources, and operations – literally any aspect of your business.


Call Four Cornerstone and Get That Data Lake Up and Running

Your customers are telling you what they want you to do. Are you listening?

We tell you now that without a data lake, you might be missing out on these conversations and information. Don’t know where to start with putting up a data lake? Call us today at 1- (817) 377-1144.

Photo courtesy of Ernesto Del Aguila III, NHGRI.

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