Big Data vs Business Intelligence

Nowadays the most important tool for Marketing and Business is Big Data and every company should have it, however it was Business Intelligence a couple of years ago.

Does Big Data replace Business Intelligence? Is Big Data an evolution of Business Intelligence? Are they the same? Are they really different? I think we wonder many questions about these tools and sometimes we are confused and, even though I’m not a technique, I can help you clarify these concepts easily.

Both are tools for collecting, storing, interrelating, analysing and visualizing data to help us make decisions for our business. But they have differences related to 3 concepts, the three Vs: volume, variety and velocity.

Volume: Business Intelligence acts in the Data Warehouse, which usually is in a company server. But when we speak about Big Data, we speak about a data volume higher than usual, it means a treatment in Terabytes or even Petabytes, and this usually needs to have a part of data stored in the Cloud.

Variety: here we find the most important difference. Both include the first-party data, data provided by the company (from company websites, CRM, ERP or mobile web or apps). Nevertheless, Big Data can also include second-party data and third-party data. The second-party data is information or data that we take directly from another source (for example a partner data-base). The third-party data is generated on other platforms and often aggregated from other websites and usually, you have to pay for it.

Another question related to variety is that Business Intelligence manages only structured data and Big Data manages all kinds of information (structured, semi-structured and unstructured). For example, unstructured information can be a client’s opinion in Facebook, a tweet, a comment in Tryp Advisor or the online reputation of our company. Most of Internet data is unstructured. At this point is where Big Data finds its biggest challenge and the greatest advantage.

working in Big Data means getting data in real time, this is a “must” in this tool, in exchange the Data Warehouse doesn’t sometimes have this speed.

Maybe, you don’t need a Big Data for your company, because the implementation of this tool depends on your business complexity and your difficulties to get data. If your business is small and easy, with a Business Intelligence tool is quite enough.

In any case, it doesn’t matter Business Intelligence or Big Data, we must have truthful data with a real value for the company to make decisions, we can’t forget data is only a tool to build a strategy to improve our business, because:

“Without data, you are just another person with an opinion”.
W. Edwards Deming

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