Computers Explained: Big Data Implications

This week’s episode continues last week’s meeting analogy, discussing the impact of big data on how a computer works, and the need for access to the data can significantly impact how much of the “big data” is actually usable.

Financial processes almost always begin with a balance. When one checks a financial account, the first thing of interest is “What’s the balance?” Yet balances are the accumulation of all business events affecting it over time.

So in thinking about “big financial data” what are we talking about? Are we talking about a bunch of balances, or are we really talking about all the underlying transactions, or business events? The balances answer the specific questions they were designed to answer; the transactions answer a nearly unlimited number of questions.

And once we have decided on what the data in “big data” is, the next question becomes memory access of it, because memory–white boards in our business meeting analogy–is where all the data we are really going to use has to fit to be usable.

Making it fit in memory, and if it doesn’t all fit getting it into and out of memory starts to bump up against the daily financial cycle. If we can’t do the work within the daily financial cycle, then we end up duplicating the data, expanding reconciliation problems.

This is Episode 133 of Conversations with Kip, the best financial system vlog there is.

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