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Skip to 0 minutes and 0 seconds So in this video, we’re going to be setting the stage and building the foundation that a lot of the rest of the course will build on as we go. And specifically, we’re going to dive into two of the words that are in the title of this course that are maybe a little misunderstood or certainly overused potentially – the Data Explosion.

Skip to 0 minutes and 24 seconds We’re going to be talking about what does that actually mean? Why is ‘explosion’ such an apt word to describe what’s actually going on in our world today? And in subsequent videos and activities, we’re actually going to dive into what started it all, right? How did we get here? What were the conditions on the ground that drove that explosion? But as a way to start our exploration of this word, I’m going to actually bring out another two word phrase that’s maybe a little overused and misunderstood – this idea of big data.

Skip to 0 minutes and 59 seconds So you can see here some pretty famous periodicals that have written cover stories on this concept of big data from The New York Times to the Harvard Business Review to Nature. All of them have coined this phrase ‘big data’ for their cover stories. The Economist went a slightly different way with ‘data deluge’, but I think you get where they’re going with this. If you look at how people talk about big data, the idea of this data explosion kind of lives within that. And a lot of the ways people talk about it, they use this concept of the three Vs. And the three Vs in relation to big data are Volume, the amount of data that’s created. That’s pretty obvious.

Skip to 1 minute and 38 seconds Velocity, the speed at which that data is created. And Variety, the number of places that are now creating data. And the Data Explosion happens at the centre of those three Vs. The fact that we’re creating so much data, at such a fast pace, in so many places, right? It’s because of all three of those things happening at once that ‘explosion’ is such a great term for what’s going on. And it’s not just about buzzy headlines. This is not just the fad of the day. If it was, we wouldn’t be having a class about it, or I wouldn’t be sitting here giving you a lecture about it. It is way more important than that.

Skip to 2 minutes and 16 seconds This Data Explosion has impacted and infused itself into all areas of certainly our global economy, but I would actually even argue our daily lives. It is changing the way that we work. It is changing the job families that are out there. This idea of a data scientist or a chief data officer, it didn’t really exist a decade ago, or at least it existed very differently. And they’re the hottest jobs on the planet right now. There are companies, hundreds and thousands of them, that live in this world of data that didn’t exist before, that gather as much data as they possibly can, and they slice and dice it, and create value out of it, and sell it to others.

Skip to 2 minutes and 57 seconds Or they dive in and do all kinds of analytics on it to create value for others. These are companies that didn’t exist before.

Skip to 3 minutes and 9 seconds Let’s not just take my word for it. Let’s actually go look at some data to show ourselves that this trend in big data, this trend of a data explosion is actually having the impact that I say it is. And one of the ways that I really like to get a sense of what’s going on in the world at any given point in time is to get a sense for what people are searching for in this little search bar. Google, and search engines more broadly, have really become the front door to the internet in a lot of ways. Nine out of ten online sessions start with a search engine, and eight out of ten searches are in Google.

Skip to 3 minutes and 44 seconds So if you can get a sense of what people are typing in Google at any given point in time, you really get a sense for what’s going on in our collective consciousness at that point in time. So let’s look at some of the terms that are particularly relevant for our conversation today. And I’m going to start with ‘big data’. So the graphic you see here is a decade view, going from about 2007 to 2017, of the searches for the term ‘big data’. And as you can see, until about 2012, big data basically didn’t exist. Nobody was searching for it. And then from 2012 to 2017, it really exploded onto the scene pretty materially.

Skip to 4 minutes and 21 seconds And just to put that in perspective, I’m going to put two other lines up on the screen for you. Searches for ‘birthday present’ and searches for ‘best university’, just to give you a sense of where big data falls in the grand scheme of things. You can see that historically big data was a fraction of the searches for something like birthday present or best university, and now it’s a multiple of them. So the importance is pretty clear, but it’s gone beyond just broad searches for big data. It’s actually impacting things like jobs. So what you see here is searches for ‘financial analyst’ in red and ‘data analyst’ in blue.

Skip to 5 minutes and 1 second And historically, financial analyst has dwarfed data analyst until about last year, when data analyst caught and now passed financial analyst in terms of searches. All right, so businesses are out there really trying to find people that can help them make sense of this data. And so you’re seeing not just trend in big data, but trend in job families like data analysts. And this is also true in education. So again, we’re looking at searches for MS in marketing, which is the red line, and MS in analytics, which is the blue line. And just like we saw on jobs, that blue line crosses and passes the red line, so now there are more searches for ‘MS analytics’ than ‘MS marketing’.

Skip to 5 minutes and 39 seconds Hopefully I’ve convinced you that the Data Explosion is a real thing, and that it’s impacting all kinds of aspects of our life, and certainly the global economy. We haven’t really talked about what it actually is yet, so let’s actually do that. And we’ll start by looking at some data about data. And what this graph shows is the worldwide storage of data over time. And this storage is shown in zettabytes, which I think it’s useful to talk about for a minute. A zettabyte is the equivalent of a trillion gigabytes, so it is a massive amount of data. And what this forecast shows is that by 2020, worldwide we will have 45 zettabytes worth of data.

Skip to 6 minutes and 22 seconds That is a massive amount of data. So the volume of data – remember the three Vs – the volume of data is pretty staggering. But also on this chart, we see that the velocity of data is increasing at an exponential rate. Specifically, it’s increasing 40% per year, and it’s showing no signs of stopping. So this is that volume and velocity of data that we were talking about. So let’s look at some statistics to put that into some perspective. Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. If you were to write 2.5 quintillion bytes of data onto a Blu-ray disc, let’s say, you’d have 10 million Blu-ray discs.

Skip to 6 minutes and 58 seconds 10 million Blu-ray discs, if you were to stack them on top of each other, would be the equivalent of four Eiffel towers. That is a lot of data. Of the data we have sitting here today, 90% of it was created in the past two years. And of that data, less than 1% of it has actually been analyzed, a lot less than 1%. 0.05% of the world’s data is estimated that it’s been analyzed. That really is the crux of the problem businesses are facing these days.

Skip to 7 minutes and 27 seconds They’re awash with data, and have a really hard time figuring out which of that data is valuable, how to mine it, how to drive insight from it, which is why you’re starting to see a rise in things like searches for data analyst. We’ve talked about the impact of this Data Explosion, how it’s changing jobs and job families. And we’ve talked about what it actually is, this volume and velocity, and we’ve looked at data. In this following videos and activities, we’re actually going to dive into how did that actually happen?

Why do we talk about an 'explosion' of data?

In this video, we explore the huge growth in data creation which we have seen over the last few decades, and discuss how this is affecting jobs, education and the economy.

Can you think of an industry which hasn’t been impacted by the enormous increase in the amount of data we now have available to us?

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Business Analytics: The Data Explosion

Kogod School of Business at American University

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