It's All About Fast Data Now

Nancy Anderson
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The term "big data" has been a buzzword among companies seeking an advantage in contemporary business models. Without data on customers, supply chains and manufacturing processes, companies fall behind competitors seeking larger market share. Since software can gather and store plenty of information, "fast data" is the next phase that firms need to mine for this valuable resource.

Mounds and mounds of data are only as good as the rate of analysis. Therefore, companies must find ways to examine fast data before the information becomes stale and useless. Two technologies are needed for this to work: a computer system that can handle high amounts of information and a data warehouse capable of going through each bit of data once it gets there. Cloud-based systems and this type of data retrieval need high-speed transmission lines.

John Deere uses real-time information from its tractors to gauge how consumers use the products, predict breakdowns and inform consumers of maintenance schedules. The information also helps farmers decide where to plant crops and how to plow fields. This technology works in real time so fast data can benefit both John Deere and its customers. More companies can follow suit with technology with a few simple steps.

All-Employee Access

Every employee should know how to use fast data based on his role in the company. This is where chief technology officers and the IT department are helpful. This specialized team should train everyone on how to use information to help make each person's job easier. This, in turn, increases revenue and profits for the company. Everyone can improve their performance by plugging into the information and offering the right kind of analysis. To make faster changes, employees must get this information quickly.

Proactive Use

Understanding the numbers holds the key to using fast data properly. Executives, managers and entry-level employees need to be able to analyze what they see to make this system work. Once they know what is going on, each employee should know what action to take based on the information he receives. If the first quarter had higher-than-expected sales numbers, businesses can capitalize on that to keep the train moving forward.

Multiple Sources

Data should come from multiple sources that integrate into one system. The ultimate goals are to make better decisions and predict consumer behavior. To do this, the rate of analysis must be in real time with the right data-gathering tools. Information can come from point-of-sale transactions, Internet searching behavior, sensor data on appliances and mobile apps. Firms must find the right technology partners that can deliver the proper speed and analysis tools to take the company to the next level.

Fast data combines big data with the speed needed to digest huge amounts of information. This business model isn't just for large companies; startups and enterprise businesses can tap into this large well of consumer information to make the right decisions. Firms should invest in these technologies sooner rather than later.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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