You Don’t Have Big Data
In previous posts, I wrote about
how a financial data consultant differs from a regular data consultant and why it’s important not to oversell financial data projects.
In this post, I want to talk about big data. Because, contrary to what you might believe, you don’t have big data. Most financial executives work with regular data. As financial data consultants, we work with regular data. Even if you have $3 billion in sales and 100,000,000 transactions, it’s still regular data.
Let me explain how big data and regular data differ:
- Big data is unstructured. Regular data isn’t.
Let’s use an example. We often start projects with the general ledger. (For more on this topic, see Using the General Ledger as a Data Warehouse.) General ledger transactions have a standard structure. Every record has an accounting string, a posting date, and a currency amount (or maybe several). The consistency of this structure works perfectly with standard relational databases—tools that have been around (if evolving) since the 1980s. For our clients (and we’ve worked with companies with multiple billions in revenue), there’s no need for anything else.