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Big Data: definition, challenges, impact on CSR approaches

What is Big Data? What are the stakes of big data (storage and exploitation)? How can Big Data influence Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility strategies?

Definition of Big Data: What is Big Data?
Popularized at the crossroads of the 2000s with the explosion of new technologies, the term “Big Data” (“megadata” in French) refers to the mass of digital data, from all sources, generated by the use of these technologies.

These data can be of a personal, professional or institutional nature, and affect all types of information circulating on digital networks (text, video, audio, database, GPS coordinates, e-commerce transactions, data transmitted by connected objects …).

According to analyst Doug Laney, Big Data data is defined by the three Vs criterion:

their volume more or less massive,
their variety (nature and level of structuring),
their velocity of production, collection and analysis.
In certain contexts, a fourth V completes the series: that of the veracity of the data, the control of which is necessary for their exploitation.

The challenges of Big Data: what future for Big Data?
Economic challenges: why big data becomes a big business?

Generally stored in gigantic data centers, most of which are controlled by the largest players in the digital economy, big data is an inexhaustible windfall whose exploitation is favored by the democratization of cloud computing (remote storage by users of internet) and the performance of supercomputers. The ever-growing Big Data market is worth tens of billions of dollars.

Societal challenges: Big data is transforming the world
The impact of Big Data is not only economic and commercial. The abundance of data, as well as the development of dedicated analysis and modeling tools, opens up huge opportunities in the areas of research in general, health, smart grids, ecology and many other areas of human activity. In other words, Big Data could change the way we think about the world … and thus transform the world.

In return, structures such as the CNIL in France (National Commission for Information and Freedoms), and more broadly at European and global levels, must constantly adapt their standards and procedures of legal framework of data exploitation and Protection of private life.

Big Data and Sustainable Business Development
In terms of supply chain management, energy efficiency, customer satisfaction and the involvement of various stakeholders, but also of management as a whole, Big Data can significantly and sustainably influence relevance and quality of actions carried out as part of a CSR approach. Indeed, the collection and exploitation of available data makes it possible to develop predictive analysis tools and organizational modeling that are effective and sustainable, adaptable in real time to changing economic conditions, both internally and externally.

For more details on the role of big data in CSR strategies: How can big data make the business more sustainable?

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