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Big data is a compilation of mass information. It involves the technologies and processes that gather and analyze data to provide insights on the current market trend and on consumer needs and demands. The regulations involved in extracting data makes it evident that big data plays a key role in the most crucial aspect of business – decision making. Based on the facts, figures, and information, big data suggests the most convenient and cost-effective alternatives for companies to apply in their operational activities. However, the question, “where does big data come from?” or what are big data sources, has been a topic of interest for some time.

There are two types of big data sources: internal and external. Simply put, data with direct association to a particular business’ trade activities and its corresponding customers is internal data. Businesses have direct control and monitoring faculty over this data. External data is data with little to no organizational control. However, external data divulges a deeper insight and understanding of the industry trend and customer demands.

Internal big data sources are the primary go-to lines of evidence before businesses and analysts look for external sources. It is advisable to mine all possible data available before creating an initial sketch of the organizational outlook. Though internal big data sources are constrained to a particular company, the ease of accessibility of data retrieval provides insights relevant to the company’s purposes. There are numerous areas where companies can look into for internal sources of big data, such as:

Client Relationship Management (CRM) System

The CRM system provides a clear overview of consumer purchasing and shopping data. In addition to shopping and purchase history, businesses can also get client information including their company affiliation, buying pattern, and areas of interest.

Internal Documents

Internal documents can be a valuable source of big data especially after the introduction of cloud computing. Digitized companies of surveys and forms can provide information related to business activities, processes, and policies. Documents like Word docs, PDF, XML and other internal documents can be mined for big data.

File Archives

Businesses should not limit themselves to the most current information. Historical data can forecast market trends, thus helping businesses to cope with the situation accordingly. The Walmart story from the New York Times that we featured previously in our blog is a perfect example the need to study archives.

Other Internal Applications

The data found in internal applications provides information vital for business growth. Though CRM stands as the most reliable big data source, other applications single out discrete information relevant to the nature of its programming. Applications related to project management, marketing, finance, human resources and automation apps can be beneficial in providing information related to their respective areas.

On the other hand, external big data sources provide a bigger picture of the market to businesses. The availability of external big data is limitless. However, companies can gather information on their relevance to understand the market and make decisions. The following are the most popular external big data sources:

Government Data

The government is liable for the growth or a failure of a community and a nation as a whole. Therefore, concerned government bodies collect data associated with their respective citizens to stay on par with their growth. In this regard, government data can be a valuable source of big data. The study of this data provides businesses with an official record of the state of the community and the nation.

Google Analytics

Google, being the most dominant search engine, has a massive database of information. Its wealth includes search terms, keywords, trends and other online activities. Furthermore, its expanse stretches out all over the Internet.

Social Media

Despite all possible sources, the contemporary king of big data sources has to be social media. It is the prime hub of interaction and reveals likes and dislikes of individuals and all demographics. Social media shows the positive and negative feedback, trends, activity patterns and consumer preferences. For instance, if businesses feel a large group flocking towards a particular type of product, they can work to relate their product to serve the interest of the buyers.

Conclusion: Big data sources provide businesses with an ample variety of choices. Selecting and testing the best of the lot is advisable for business success. Also, while internal data provides consumer information with an inclination towards your product and services, external data helps drive a newer audience.