It took me exactly a day to write this blog. In the same time the following happened.

1. 1 billion pieces of content were added to Facebook.

2. Zynga processed 1 petabyte of content for players, a volume of data that is unmatched in the social game industry.

3. More than 1 billion searches were performed only on Twitter

4. More than 2 billion videos were watched on YouTube

That is not all. According to IBM, every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. That is a unit of data I never thought existed even in the dictionary and for me an Urban Legend so to speak. The amount of data created each day has increased to such levels that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data is big data. An understatement to say the least.

Big Data will be of no use till the time it remains Data. The Big Data needs to be converted to Big Information.

The term Big Data is used to describe voluminous amount of unstructured and semi-structured data a company creates — data that would take too much time and cost too much money to load into a relational database for analysis.

So how do we manage the so called “big data“? What is the objective of managing it? What is the expected outcome of this extremely tedious exercise? The massive size of Big Data goes beyond the ability of average database software tools to capture, store, manage, and analyze them effectively.

Bill Hoggarth, speaker at the ITWeb BPM Summit, says “Unlike any other IT catchphrase, big data is here to stay because it’s being led and sponsored by business thought leaders.” From a BPM perspective, he also adds “It’s not so much how BPM helps with addressing big data, but rather how big data helps to address BPM challenges”. As companies shift towards more customer-centric approaches to managing their business, they are looking for frameworks to manage their business processes that can actually predict customer behavior.

Organizations have increasingly started thinking in terms of business processes rather than individual applications. The combination of BPM and advanced analytics tools that have ready access to massive amounts of data creates intriguing possibilities that could serve to automate any number of business functions.

Senior Management want businesses run on data-driven decisions. They want scenarios and simulations that provide immediate guidance on the best actions to take when disruption occur, disruptions ranging from unexpected competitors or an earthquake in a supply zone to a customer signaling a desire to switch providers. Management wants to understand optimal solutions based on complex business parameters or new information, and they want to take action quickly.

Of course, many business executives have been reluctant to attempt to automate many of the processes for fear that the data those decisions are being made on is either incorrect or incomplete. But as the volume of data for those decisions increases, the confidence in those decisions increases because the level of extrapolation being made based on the available data is significantly less.

It’ll be interesting to see what impact Big Data ultimately has on BPM adoption or vice versa. It is of utmost importance they complement each other to contribute to the growth of the organization. It is not just a matter of what came first – The egg or the chicken.