We’re surrounded by big data in modern society, but there are still far too many businesses out there that believe it isn’t relative to their companies.
Some people assume that big data is that it is simple that – big; it’s too big to get your head around, too big to store without large infrastructure overheads and simply too big to do anything more that eat up expensive employee time.
Big data isn’t new, either. Back in 2014, a report by EY revealed that 72% of businesses expected big data to start playing a key role in fraud detection and prevention. Unfortunately, just 2% of those companies were actually using it at the time.
In reality, the impact of big data goes far beyond these assumptions. Harness it through efficient capture, analysis and interpretation methods, and it’ll become an invaluable business asset.
What is big data?
Big data refers to large, disparate volumes of dynamic data that is, mostly, created by people.
It’s created by tools and machines, too, and requires scalable technology to collect, host and process it in order to offer real-time business insight which can be acted on.
The sources from which big data can flow include social media, web analytics and an increasing number of internet-enabled devices that are now entering the market.
Big data is commonly characterised by what have become known as the ‘four Vs’:
- Volume: the amount of data created is huge compared to traditional sources
- Variety: big data comes from many different sources and can be created by machines as well as individuals
- Velocity: it never stops being generated and arrives incredibly quickly
- Veracity: the veracity and quality of the data needs testing due to the number of sources from which it can be obtained
4 ways big data could transform your business
If you still believe that big data isn’t relevant to your company, we suggest that you think about it, for we think there are four ways it is capable of transforming your business.
Combined with analytics, big data will benefit you in the following ways:
- It will become an invaluable asset
No matter the size of your business, it will generate data of some kind. If you have a website, social media presence and collect customer data, you’re already amassing vast quantities of valuable information.
What do you do with it? If it lies dormant, you’re missing out on an invaluable asset. You need to develop a strategy for the data you hold; how it’s collected, stored, used and protected.
- It provides brilliant market intelligence
How well do you know your market? Chances are, it evolves constantly, but with big data, you can gain a unique, dynamic insight into market and customer intelligence.
Big data helps you figure out what customers want based on their buying habits and browsing behaviour. You’ll also start to learn the channels through which you’re most likely to capture their attention.
- It’ll improve your operations and internal efficiency
Optimising delivery routes and using advanced sensors to track the performance of your machinery are just two examples of how big data can improve operational efficiency.
This works for any kind of business and industry, and it can work for HR, too, with employee data used to assess what personal attributes and work attitudes are required for specific positions, based on employee behaviour and input.
- It helps improve the customer experience
By building big data into your product offering, you can vastly improve the customer experience.
Traditionally, products were sent out into the market and then customer feedback is gained via market surveys or the monitoring of online reviews. Now, smart devices can report back to base while in use, providing an instant insight into how they’re used.
Data of this kind is invaluable, because it enables companies to tweak product designs and iterations quickly and in response to real-time customer feedback.
How big data affects big business decisions
The most profound thing about big data is the way it can affect the biggest business decisions. This is where the value of the information you store becomes apparent.
Big data impacts businesses at every level, but there are three areas in particular where it can be transformative in the board room:
Profitability can be quickly improved if productivity is raised. With big data, you can analyse every business function to identify inefficiencies in processes. From assembly line to invoicing, it’ll reveal where productivity gains can be made.
Where will your next source of revenue come from? With big data, you’ll start to spot marketing channels that could put you in front of a new audience, making new product launches far less risky.
Most companies are worried about measuring and maintaining a great reputation. Thankfully, big data is a great way to identify public perception and create effective strategies for improving it.
You’ll find huge potential in big data, but only if you give it the time it deserves.
It’s far easier to dismiss big data as an unapproachable colossus than it is to build a strategy around it, but the latter will result in an approach to big data and analytics that proves transformative for your business.