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Study notes

Big Data

  • Levels: A Level
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Big data is the process of collecting and analysing large data sets from traditional and digital sources to identify trends and patterns that can be used in decision-making.

Revision Video - Big Data

These large data sets are both structured (e.g. sales transactions from an online store) and unstructured (e.g. posts) on social media.

The quantity of data generated is growing exponentially, including data generated by:

  • Retail e-commerce databases
  • User-interactions with websites and mobile apps
  • Usage of logistics, transportation systems, financial and health care
  • Social media data
  • Location data (e.g. GPS-generated)
  • Internet of Things (IoT) data generated
  • New forms of scientific data (e.g. human genome analysis)

Key Uses of Big Data

Some important uses of big data include:

Tracking and monitoring the performance, safety and reliability of operational equipment (e.g. data generated by sensors)

Generating marketing insights into the needs and wants of customers, based on the transactions, feedback, comments (e.g. from e-commerce analytics, social media posts). Big data is revolutionising traditional market research.

Improved decision-making - for example analysing the real-time impact of pricing changes or other elements of the marketing mix (the use of big data to drive dynamic pricing is a great example of this).

Better security of business systems: big data can be analysed to identify unusual activity, for example on secure-access systems

More efficient management of capacity: the increasing use of big data to inform decision-making about capacity management (e.g, in transportation and logistics systems) is a great example of how big data can help a business operate more efficiently

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