The World is flat, not round

Pythagoras of Samos was the first person to show that the world is not flat, it is round. The rest is history. I know this is a no brainer, but stay with me this will be interesting.

We all know the retail industry is going to change from the ground up, and data has been the talk of the town, drones flying and machine learning being the bleeding edge. This all sounds good, but as far as I am concerned the only people benefiting from these marvellous technologies are the bloggers and online courses “bootstrap your career” at masses. We are constantly told how crucial the shift should be, and everyone should embrace it. But I have a simple question, How? I want to be part of the change, I want to be the cool kid on the block. This is what no one will tell you, how to do it. That is where they charge you a truckload of money, and you are still where you left off, with a big hole in your pocket.

Problem:

What if I tell you the majority of the world still believes their world is flat? You still believe your world is flat! Let me proof that to you. The world I am talking about is the retail industry, and to make sense of the world we look at events, patterns and trends. When we are looking at this “world” we see everything flat, and if the rules do not apply to the flat world we call it uncommon or near impossible to solve. Yes, I am talking about the excel spreadsheet, column and rows databases and our CSV’s. We see everything as rows and columns. When we have to merge, sort, or aggregate any information we apply the laws of the flat world. Fun Fact storing information as rows and columns was inspired by the ledger and accounting books that we had decades ago. Since the world back then was simple, and computers were used for we simplistic tasks. It would be completely inefficient to use something which affects our decision-making capabilities from a decades-old technology right? *cough* SQL Databases *cough**cough….*. Database technology we still use daily were developed in 1970 and there have been no major changes to the structural integrity of how they function and adapt to our current fast pace world.

We take our world which is round and beautiful and flatten it to fit it into the spreadsheet format and make a scene of it. There should be a better way, don’t you agree. The whole reason we have this big data epidemic and demand of the processing large amount of data “big data”, can be attributed to the fact that so-called SQL databases a.k.a. the flat world does not keep up with the demands of the changing world around us. Databases are the only technology that has now seen a major shift from 1970 till 2010. And we all know everything else, literally, everything else in the technological world has changed, from hardware, software, computation, network, security. Then why not databases?

Don’t get me wrong spreadsheet format is still relevant when you just want to stay alive in the fast-moving world.

Solution:

Enter the world of NoSQL databases, this week topic Graph Database. It represents the data just like we talk about them in the real world. When we use the breakout area and draw circles and line to connect them to explain a concept, that is a representation of a Graph DB. So why should you care? Following is the list of some of the benefits that a Graph DB can give as compared to any other technology in the database world.

1. Recommendation Engine: Graph Databases can really shine when it comes to connected data. Since everything is shown as a relation we can ask some complex questions from the data. Let me give a test case, what if you can track a customer purchase history, their current browsing activates, people who bought similar stuff, what other stuff people bought who bought that similar stuff, what customer in that region bought? Taking all of this information and producing the result in less than a second. That is pure magic.

Quote from Walmart “ By design, graph databases can quickly query customers’ past purchases, as well as instantly capture any new interests shown in the customers’ current online visit — essential for making real-time recommendations. Matching historical and session data in this way is trivial for graph databases like Neo4j, enabling them to easily outperform relational and other ‘NoSQL’ data products”.

2. Highly connected Data: Understanding customers is a combination of multiple data sources, producing a single data lake (data warehouse) is very complicated and resources taxing. When we can present a customer in a natural way that is a customer graph and see all the relations that they have created through instore sales, home deliveries, contacting the customer centre, returns etc. This takes us straight to the core of the problem and makes use fulfil our customer first promise.

3. Speed: Graph Databases are very fast, how fast you may ask, a quote from an eBay

engineer Volker, “ Our Neo4j solution is literally thousands of times faster than the prior MySQL solution, with queries that require 10–100 times less code. At the same time, Neo4j allowed us to add functionality that was previously not possible.”

In the picture below Depth represents different data sources or interconnected relations,

Conclusion:

In today’s world, smart work is appreciated more than hard work. Our life constantly revolves around shaving seconds from our schedule, those principles should be applied to our work productivity as well. Doubling our market well is very plausible, the question should not be what can we do? The question should what we are doing, and is that right? To answer that we need to use tools which help user response to our customer in record time. Being proactive to our customer can lead us to the promise land. All opinion and thoughts mentioned in the article of the author. To end with this quote

Information is key, and knowledge is power. Let’s get the keys to unlock the power”.