BIG DATE value

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       Written by Luisa Caramatti

The industrial evolution reached by now the "version" 4.0 has led companies to the increasingly automated and technological production plants that produce a large amount of data, the "Big Data". But what are they and why are they so important for an SME?

"Big Data" are the data, information, that are created by machines, sensors, production plants and circulate inside and outside the companies. 

According to Mckinsey Global Institute, today more than 30 million are already networked and the number increases by 30% year by year.

Big Data's importance and truthfulness doesn't depend on quantity, but on their quality and the use that is done with them. The flow of data grows in speed and variety and we need to understand how to store them, which ones are important to monitor our plant and which ones to schedule the future work of the company. In 2001, Doug Laney (then Vice President and Service Director of Meta Group) briefly described Big Data in three categories - the 3Vs:

  • Volume - refers to the amount of data collected that comes from a large number of sources and today the volume is constantly growing, making it impossible for human beings to manage it;
  • Speed - refers obviously to the speed with which the data is generated and then transmitted, therefore also requiring a more and more timely treatment;
  • Variety - coming from different sources, the "Big Data" have many types of format, protocols that must be properly managed.

Over the years two new V's have been added:

  • Truthfulness - data must be reliable, industrial development has increasingly accelerated and highlighted how data management technologies change but must maintain the integrity of the information;
  • Variability - much more data, in different formats and from different contexts. The mutability of their meaning is something that must always be taken into account when analyzing and interpreting them.

In recent years, Big Data has been called the new petroleum or the new gold because their priceless source of value has finally been understood. It is thanks to them and their use that the entrepreneur can:

  • Reduce time and costs,
  • Optimize the production process,
  • Eliminate human error,
  • Reduce waste of raw material,
  • Reduce energy consumption.

However, limiting itself to the collection of data, it doesn't guarantee to have all the necessary information and above all to extract knowledge from them. When we talk about data, information or knowledge we are talking about different aspects but in relation to each other.

The information is therefore the result of a process of analysis so; if Big Data is to be transformed into useful awareness in business processes to improve performance and quality, it is necessary to use Analytics tools. A sixth V has therefore been added in the evaluation of Big Data: the value. It is here that Big Data Analytics methodologies become fundamental to extract value, which will serve the entrepreneur to make more informed, timely and informed decisions:

  • Make faster decisions - daily data collection allows the entrepreneur to verify production processes with a new perspective and have more clarity about how they are working, Real-time plant monitoring enables timely intervention where necessary and the more advanced the analysis the greater the competitive advantage.
  • Increase efficiency - as already mentioned, to make Big Data useful you have to use them in the right way. They must therefore be analyzed correctly to simplify processes, reduce costs and optimize production.
  • Increase flexibility - thanks to the information obtained from Big Data analysis, a SME can modify its strategies quickly to adapt to market, production and quality requirements, becoming more competitive.
  • Safeguard the plant - thanks to the amount of information coming from the machinery, you can use predictive maintenance to reduce machine downtime and keep your plant healthy, extending its life.

Predictive maintenance is just an evolution of the data analysis we have talked about: through the use of Big Data and Machine Learning techniques you can check in real-time what happens in your company, but also foresee possible failures or production defects.

Research carried out by Digital Innovation in SMEs at Politecnico di Milano showed that in 2020 only 26% of Italian SMEs were ready to challenge world markets thanks to the use of production processes. The research has allowed to define 4 digital profiles of Italian SMEs:


As we have seen Big Data owned by an entrepreneur are many and always growing and it is not possible to manage them alone. In order to make the best use of them you must therefore choose and use the best tool for your business needs and rely on a partner who knows how to exploit this mine of information by supporting the entrepreneur and his team in this path towards the future of the industry.

FMECA is a widely used technique for a quantitative definition of the criticality of your production plant.

→ Do you want to find out how? T4SM can help you in this digitization path thanks to its cutting-edge solutions for visualization, optimization and analysis of production facilities integrated with artificial intelligence.


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