6 'data' buzzwords you need to understand

Fear not: The lingo needn't be mysterious. What's tricky is making it all pay off.

Take one major trend spanning the business and technology worlds, add countless vendors and consultants hoping to cash in, and what do you get? A whole lot of buzzwords with unclear definitions.

In the world of big data, the surrounding hype has spawned a brand-new lingo. Need a little clarity? Read on for a glossary of sorts highlighting some of the main data types you should understand.

1. Fast data

The shining star in this constellation of terms is "fast data," which is popping up with increasing frequency. It refers to "data whose utility is going to decline over time," said Tony Baer, a principal analyst at Ovum who says he coined the term back in 2012.

It's things like Twitter feeds and streaming data that need to be captured and analyzed in real time, enabling immediate decisions and responses. A capital markets trading firm may rely on it for conducting algorithmic or high-frequency trades.

"Fast data can refer to a few things: fast ingest, fast streaming, fast preparation, fast analytics, fast user response," said Nik Rouda, a senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group. It's "mostly marketing hype," but it "shows the need for performance in a variety of ways."

Increased bandwidth, commodity hardware, declining memory prices and real-time analytics have all contributed to the rise of fast data, Baer said.

2. Slow data

At the opposite end of the spectrum is "slow data," or data that might trickle in at a comparatively leisurely pace, warranting less-frequent analysis. Baer points to a device that monitors ocean tides as an example -- for most purposes, real-time updates aren't needed.

In general, this kind of data is better-suited for capture in a data lake and subsequent batch processing.

3. Small data

"Small data" is "anything that fits on one laptop," said Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro, president of analytics consultancy KDnuggets.

Essentially, the term recognizes the fact that "a lot of analysis is still done on one or a few data sources, on a laptop, using lightweight apps -- sometimes even just Excel," Rouda said.

4. Medium data

As for "medium data," well, it's in between.

When you're talking about many petabytes of data, that's big data, and you'd likely use technologies such as Hadoop and MapReduce to analyze it, Baer said. But "most analytic problems don't involve petabytes," he added. When analyses involve data on a more intermediate scale, that's medium data, and you'd likely use Apache Spark.

5. Dark data

"Dark data" is typically data that gets overlooked and underused.

"People don’t know it’s there, don’t know how to access it, aren’t allowed access, or the systems haven’t been set up to leverage it yet," Rouda explained. It crops up "all too often" in databases, data warehouses and data lakes, he said.

Such restricted or poorly documented pools of data are often referred to as the "dark web." Bringing them to light is generally the domain of data-discovery services, often using machine-learning algorithms, Baer said.

6. Dirty data

Last but not least, "dirty data" is nowhere near as fun as it sounds. Rather, it's simply a data set before it gets cleaned up.

"A matter of nature is that things are dirty until you clean them," Baer said. "Unless you've performed some operation on it, data is not going to be clean."

Those operations can include preparation, enrichment and transformation, Rouda noted. "Otherwise a lot of wrong answers are possible."

One more thing...

Using data to grow your business is a lot more than just understanding the lingo.

"There's a gap between all the data that has become available and our ability to use it for insight," said Brian Hopkins, a vice president with Forrester.

Bridging that gap could be a matter of using Hadoop, or it could be accomplished through simple self-service tools, Hopkins said. Either way, it's the link that has to be made in order for meaningful action to result.

"Vendors and analysts are great at creating new buzzwords," he said. Rather than getting bogged down in terms, "my advice for CIOs is to stay laser-focused on outcomes that will transform your business."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: The Star's George Hughes

It's been an incredibly tough three months for the Star as it shut its doors and stood down staff in response to the COVID-19 lockdown. Yet innovation has shone through, and if the CMO, George Hughes, has anything to say about it, such lateral thinking will continue as we start to recover from the crisis.

More Videos

We would like to invite you to the Virtual Exhibition about IoT Trends in 2020, 7 - 9 July, organised by Must.We developed a new B2B matc...

hayfa

Want to master digital transformation? Stop thinking about your own problems

Read more

We have been trying to help our clients through this time. I think the important thing is clear communication! We also created some check...

Erin Payne

Is COVID-19 the right time for a positive marketing campaign?

Read more

Very good article Sagar. Congrats! It's exactly what we are doing at Dafiti and it's very important have you close to us into this journey.

Roosevelt Junior

Making Your Organisation Data-Driven [MYOD] - Data-driven marketing - CMO Australia

Read more

Corporates should be innovating to stay relevant and disrupt the market and collaborating with startups is easily the best way to go for ...

Diana

How your company can innovate its way through the COVID-19 crisis

Read more

Very welll written Sagar and gives an excellent overview for data strategy for an orgaanization!

Ritvik Dhupkar

Making Your Organisation Data-Driven [MYOD] - Data-driven marketing - CMO Australia

Read more

Blog Posts

Business quiet? Now is the time to review your owned assets

For businesses and advertiser categories currently experiencing a slowdown in consumer activity, now is the optimal time to get started on projects that have been of high importance, but low urgency.

Olia Krivtchoun

CX discipline leader, Spark Foundry

Bottoms up: Lockdown lessons for an inverted marketing world

The effects of the coronavirus slammed the brakes on retail sales in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Fever-Tree’s Australia GM Andy Gaunt explains what they have learnt from some tricky months of trading

Andy Gaunt

General manager, Fever-Tree Australia and New Zealand

Younger demos thought lost are now found: But what about the missing money?

There is much talk about what VOZ will bring to the media industry. New ways to slice and dice audiences and segments. A clearer understanding of screen consumption. Even new ways to plan and buy. The most interesting result could be finding something many thought we lost - younger viewers, specifically the valuable 18-39s.

Michael Stanford

Head of 10 Imagine and national creative director, Network 10

Sign in