Big Data

Powerful analytical tools help CUs extract actionable trends from mountains of data.

September 30, 2013
KEYWORDS Big Data , technology
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Big data is affecting almost everything.

It’s not unique to the financial services industry. Every industry from health care to professional sports is getting a facelift, thanks to the careful parsing of ever-growing mountains of data. 


Big data is the term used to describe data sets so large and complex that it’s difficult to process using traditional database-management tools. With the right tools, however, organizations can discern critical business trends that will enlighten their growth strategies. 

Part of the challenge of managing big data is its exponential growth rate. 

About 90% of the world’s data today was developed in the past two years, according to IBM. Computer scientists now measure this data not just in megabytes and gigabytes, but in exabytes and zettabytes. 

It’s difficult to comprehend the speed at which the world’s data is growing. Consider that: 

The key to understanding and using big data to your advantage is to think of it as a tool. 

When technologists and futurists say big data is changing everything, they really mean big data processes are changing everything. 

“You shouldn’t care about ‘big data’; you should care about what it can do in your existing business projects,” says Vivek Bajaj, IBM’s director of global banking and financial markets. 

Credit unions are putting big data to use in a number of different ways: 

‘Big’ applications 

Big data means searching for patterns in massive data sets and using software to parse the information into something useable, according to Philipp Kallerhoff, author of “Big Data and Credit Unions: Machine Learning in Member Transactions,” published by the Filene Research Institute. 

In his Filene white paper, Kallerhoff explains credit unions can use big data to improve: 

NEXT: 'Big' marketing

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