Big Data and Being CA

Meaning of Big Data
Big data is a blanket term for any collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. The challenges include capture, storage, search, sharing, transfer, analysis and visualization. The trend to larger data sets is due to the additional information derivable from analysis of a single large set of related data, as compared to separate smaller sets with the same total amount of data, allowing correlations to be found to "spot business trends, determine quality of research, prevent diseases, link legal citations, combat crime, and determine real-time roadway traffic conditions”. In today’s world Data are being captured every second by corporates, mobile and internet service providers, and many more. These data are captured to give you a perfect experience of life.
Real Life Examples
The data of your net searched are shared by search engines with e commerce website to give relevant products online when you log in, you get best deals of hotels in the area for which you have just booked tickets online and also suggest places to visit when you reach the said place for vacation or work. All these are possible with the boom in e commerce and all your preferences are shown in respective site not automatically but by Big data analyses being done around the world, either linked with your IP, your login credentials of google, yahoo, make my trip, others. These search are also supported when you install add on, to which you allow to download or upload cookies.
Another example of maintaining database can be explained when you go to your favourite retail outlet and you are asked your mobile number to add your loyalty card although you forget to carry the loyalty card and then next question you are asked about your last purchase and feedback on same.
These are real life examples of data mining of millions and billions of rows and column maintained in table form or in various tables maintained in ER relationship (technical term for having unique identification number like Mobile number/loyalty card number in one table and different traits relating to it in another and then linking the same while analysing).
Opportunity for CA
For most organizations, big data analysis is a challenge. Consider the sheer volume of data and the many different formats of the data (both structured and unstructured data) collected across the entire organization and the many different ways different types of data can be combined, contrasted and analysed to find patterns and other useful information. CA’s are always proud to reflect the billions of transaction entered by company during a year into two sheets of balance sheet and statement of profit and loss account. The interpretational skill of CA is very useful when analysing such huge data and with help of computers and artificial intelligence it’s a matter of millisecond.  A CA plays a vital role as a domain expert to inform the ways in which these data are to be captured, reflected and as a data analyst himself.
Supply chain management
Big data provides an infrastructure for transparency in supply chain industry, which is the ability to unravel uncertainties such as inconsistent availability and distribution system breakdown. Predictive supply as an applicable approach toward near-zero downtime and transparency requires vast amount of data and advanced prediction tools for a systematic process of data into useful information. The success of E commerce sites providing minimal delivery time is proper analyses of sales and predicting future sale. CA’s can play an important role in same by analysing the data and linking the demography with traits and taste of people from different region thus boosting sale.
Retail Industry
In retail just imagine the number of invoice generated every minute in a Big Hypermarket store with average bill size comparatively small and if the company has hundreds of such store. Just imagine if this data is linked with customer Loyalty details and points calculations which are to be checked as a CA. This could have been possible in past with Excel, but with the size of data of present days it could only be analysed with data analysing tool or customised tool supported with SQL or other such data management software. A CA can play an important role in deriving sensible reports from these data and it is not a one day affair as information requirement from marketing and sales is ever revolving with time therefore it could not be a one-time recruitment.
Social Media

We should imagine the number of post and pics uploaded on Facebook everyday by all its users and the volume of data Facebook stores along with your personal details. Corporate houses are using Social networks, online search engine data, cookies and various external and internal sources to capture data and understand customer preference and trends. It is an important mode of market research for many companies and as the smart phone is accepted by mass at large these medium would play an important role in coming days. In social media and online CA’s get another interesting area to work in.

BIG 4 are giving service in this area which shows the future of the sector and opportunity for CA’s and it is meant for young brigade who are technology friendly and understand the requirement of clients. The first mover advantage is still available as Big data concept is new in India. Internationally Big Data Research and Development Initiative was announce by The White house in March 2012.
There are institutes offering courses on data analytics and with our knowledge of CA we should take the plunge in it. We all now understand the future of Big data, it opens venues for many professionals like data analytics and opportunities for CA’s so go and grab it.
Best Regards
Vivek Agarwal