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
cmo-xs-promo

Latest Videos

More Videos

Beautiful article.

Hodlbaba

15 brands jumping into NFTs

Read more

"Blue" is really gorgeous and perfectly imitates a human customer support operator. Personally, I won't order a chatbot development for m...

Nate Ginsburg

Why the newest member of BT’s contact centre is a chatbot

Read more

As today’s market changes rapidly, the tools we use change, and it is important to adapt to those changes to continue to succeed in busin...

Anna Duda

Report: 10 digital commerce trends here to stay

Read more

MAN! this is really a well-written article. Anything regarding app development is well addressed in this article. Especially, the way you...

AIA Developers

Mini marketing leader takes group marketing reins at BMW

Read more

Lyre’s and Dohler will not be sued by Arkay Beverages for stealing Arkay’s trade secretshttps://www.openpr.com/news...

Reynald Grattagliano

Lyre's Spirit Co follow up investment injection with global media partnership

Read more

Blog Posts

How the pandemic revealed the antidote to marketing’s image problem

What does marketing truly ‘own’ in most organisations? Brand and campaigns, definitely. Customer experience? That remains contested ground.

Murray Howe

Founder, The Markitects

Still pursuing a 360-degree view of the customer?

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” It may have been true in 1993 when this caption to a Peter Steiner cartoon appeared in the New Yorker. But after 30 years online, it’s no longer the case.

Agility in 2022

Only the agile will survive and thrive in this environment and that’s why in 2022, agility will need to be a whole-business priority.

Sam McConnell

Melbourne bureau chief, Alpha Digital

Sign in