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Here’s a number you don’t hear every day: a quintillion. That’s a 1 followed by 18 zeros; a billion billion; a million trillion. As immense as a quintillion is, IBM (IBM)estimates that each day—every day—the world creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data. By comparison, all of the earth’s oceans contain 352 quintillion gallons of water; if bytes were buckets, it would only take about 20 weeks of information gathering to fill the seas.

For businesses, managing the ocean of data is frustrating. An Oracle (ORCL)study released in July of more than 300 executives in the U.S. and Canada indicated 93 percent believe they’re losing revenue opportunities by not being able to leverage the information available to them. Pete Elliott, director of marketing at systems integration specialist Key Info in Woodland Hills, Calif., helps companies of all sizes deal with the “oceans and oceans of data” spawned by posts, tweets, likes, links, images, videos, comments, texts, blogs, click tracks, and even digital sensors in shipping crates, among other things. The more data there are, Elliott says, the more his clients of all sizes want access to it—and quickly.

Let’s clear up one big misconception about Big Data now: It’s not just for big businesses. Data analytics is just another tool to increase revenue and maximize profitability. For any size business to stay competitive, it’s imperative to get a handle on its data because its counterparts are likely already doing the same with theirs. The glut of data available today is of no use if it’s not in a form that can be easily accessed and understood. As new software increasingly allows for better collecting, sifting, and sorting—turning data into information and information into insight—it can offer significant competitive advantages.