The 3 E’s of big data

We all know the three V’s of big data – volume, variety and velocity (it’s big, it’s complex and it changes rapidly).

Recent events got me thinking about the three E’s…


We have been hearing for years of the massive volumes of data being generated every second, yet, for most businesses the examples used simply didn’t sound relevant.

Now, two trends are driving the explosion of data volumes in many businesses.

Firstly. the Internet of Things – machine generated data is increasingly applied to every day business problems – such as insurance risk profiling, or to ensure the availability of mission critical infrastructure in factories, retail spaces or data centres.

Secondly, the shift to digital channels has an unintended consequence – substantial additional data is generated by every customer.


This explosion of data is only of value if you use it to advantage – as discovered by DNB Norway. “Everyone talks about going digital, but if you’re not capitalising on data streams that are generated through your digital channels, then you’re going digital without listening,” – Aidan Millar, Chief Data Officer at DNB.

For most businesses, the data explosion means an increased ability to understand customers, risks, channels and the like.

The ability to generate insights – whether streaming in real time or after the fact – remains the most obvious way in which to monetise data.


However, this ability to deliver insights is not without risk. There is increased scrutiny on how sensitive and personal data is used – in many cases driven by both regulatory bodies and by an increased consumer awareness to abuse of their data.

South African corporate governance requires that business must be comducted in an ethical way – and this surely therefore also applies to the use of data.

Companies need to define polices and approaches to ensure that data is exploited for insights in an ethical way – not just because they have a legal requirement to do so but because customers are more likely to remain connected to companies that they trust to protect their interests.

How are you looking to ethically exploit the explosion of data in your business?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.