Big Data Turning Data into Insight: What Big Data Means for The cost of not doing anything will have serious implications. BY ROWENA MORAIS G et started now. Begin with baby steps. Measure and tweak as you go along but decide firstly what it is that you want from this initiative. This message was loud and clear at the recent Mercer Marsh Employee Health and Benefits Series event1. Big data is here to stay, and will only get bigger. It’s been a buzzword for some time but don’t let trendy terminology fool you. Data has to be presented in such a way that it tells a story. It needs to link different ideas together and the impact of visual representation of such data cannot be underestimated. 44 May 2015 There is a price to be paid if you simply sit and watch, undecided about whether you will do anything about big data. What is big data? But first, what exactly is big data? Industry analyst Doug Laney articulated the now mainstream definition of big data as the three V’s: volume, velocity and variety.2 • Volume. We’re talking about terabytes3 and petabytes of data now. • Velocity. This is not just about speed, rather it is about speed in the direction desired. With data streaming in at an unprecedented rate, being able to collate the right data and draw insight that enables you to react quickly is a challenge for many organisations.