Big data becomes more instrumental in business


“Traditionally, 80 per cent of [an] organisation’s data is not available for analytics. Most of the data was hidden away in documents, in various logs. [We want to] get that information into the fold, now that information is coming into the big data space. So big data refers to the data that cannot be analysed using traditional technologies,” said Gerhard Botha from PBT Group.

Big data is a collection of large and complex data sets, which can be difficult to process in traditional applications. Some volumes of big data can however be stored through cloud computing, and certain volumes can also be extracted through the same computing concept.

“When you refer to big data, not only do you refer to the fact that you’ve got very large volumes of data and a variety of complexities, but also how to store, manage and handle it and the governance around it,” Botha explained.


Consumer behaviour is collected in large data volumes, which is used to identify customer patterns and behaviour. As organisations become significantly larger and increasingly collaborative, data collection and storage is expected to increase.

Charl Enne, business analytics principal advisor at KPMG said, “A lot of the things that are coming out in business nowadays seem to be more around sentiment analysis. You’ve got a lot of social information floating around – the rise of twitter, Facebook – people truly expressing their feeling about how they feel about products and companies on those mediums. That seems to be where a lot of the big data thinking goes towards.”

He added that big data methods are also used to gather information from the healthcare and financial services industry to better understand their client.

The data can then be used to allocate problem or thriving areas, increase revenue and improve the general mechanisms of a company or industry.

“In South Africa, we do have a mixed view in terms of how people interact for example in our banking industry. We can utilise a lot of this analysis to truly understand what those customers are starting to do now,” said Enne.

“As much as we seem like we’re coming from a third world base in many ways, we’ve actually got an extremely progressive technological banking base here.”