Why Businesses cannot afford to ignore Big Data?
Big Data brings enormous value to businesses by analyzing structured and unstructured data extracting key business insights which were earlier not possible. Data analyzed by Big Data can be extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations. For example, it has enabled extracting insights into customer behaviour, trends and patterns of rejects and return of products, brand health, etc.
It is important because large amounts of data are generated in key business areas such as:
- Customer relationship management
- Product manufacturing
- Supply chain management
- Business planning and forecast
- Building control and automation
- HVAC management
- Perimeter and security management.
Big Data processes facilitate converting large volumes of data into a manageable and meaningful structured form (information intelligence) which can then be processed efficiently. The information in the unstructured form can be voice, video, or any streaming data (continuous rainfall measurement, stock prices, etc.). The Big Data platform can manage both batch and streaming data in a very efficient manner. Typical data sizes managed by such platforms could be in the petabyte+ range. Data sets could be of multiple formats, spanning various physical machines and yet be used for trend forecasting, advertising suggestions, buying patterns and so on.
Earlier applications of Big Data point towards the fact that neither volume nor data type, either streaming or batch, is a limitation on the performance of the Big platform in its ability to extract the requisite intelligence. Whether it is processing of small volumes of data in real time (transaction intelligence) or large volumes of data over a period of time (product quality based on production data), both small and large business stand to gain by use of Big Data. Typical ROIs are in excess of 100% within 6 to 8 months.
Big Data allows for predictive analysis by analyzing past trends and behaviour giving an insight into customer behaviour, market trends, microeconomic factors, etc.
Sample Application Areas
Product Management And Marketing
Prescriptive modeling, which prescribes course of action based on past trends and applies rules and algorithms to the data, helps companies anticipate opportunities for future investments, influence buying behavior by directing marketing campaigns at potential customers. Because shopping is now increasingly online; each click, google search, like and dislike can be captured and channeled to better understanding of the consumer’s needs and positioning of products and services.
Prescriptive modeling can give management valuable product information. Products or services can be improved upon based on the customer feedback available on social media and feedback sites.
Old products or services can be phased out or discontinued if they are at the end of their product lifecycle and therefore not of interest to their customers. New products and services can be introduced based on customer and market preferences, positioned according to demographic preferences. Customers and companies now prefer an interactive approach to selling and adopt creative customization. This could be another area of data gathering for further use.
Processes and procedures of a business can be optimized by using big data. For example, delivery routes can be optimized, supply chain can be streamlined, stock and surplus can be disposed in a timely manner, and traffic can be redirected in case of heavy traffic and/or accidents.
Insurance companies could benefit from Big Data as they would receive information based on real time as opposed to predictive modeling, which takes into account past data and various risk factors. Thus they can roll out new products to cover information that has been uncovered and charge premiums accordingly.
Healthcare systems can be improved by collecting data about hospital systems, patients’ history and data will be useful in predicting and preventing ailments, and possible surgeries. A patient’s self and family history can be analyzed to predict whether they are at risk for certain diseases. A collective view of the people’s health can be used by the government to adapt and provide medical cover and facilities for betterment of the population.
Sports and Fitness
There is a huge opportunity in sports-related fields for Big Data. Several popular sports have already embraced its usefulness, such as tennis, football, baseball, etc. Big Data is used to track athletes nutrition levels, practice regime, sleep patterns and much more apart from typical field training parameters. It is also used to track minute performance issues of the team, its opponents, and use this information for betterment of training and performance of sports people.
Home Security and Surveillance
Big Data and its applications will prove to be valuable in case of security, at an individual home and business levels, and at a city, state and at national levels. Home security can gather data through the householder’s interaction pattern with appliances and products in their home. This leads to better markets for home surveillance systems. At a broader level, it helps governments gather data about security aspects and can study the weaknesses in their country’s defense perimeters and decide to invest on the right security systems based on available technology, political climate, and threats to the country.
Trading of a company’s shares are based on various factors such as current and past performance, brand valuation, goodwill generated and a number of other factors. With social media usage on the rise, it is possible to collate all the information about a company and assess the value of a company. This information will be helpful to said company’s executives, investors and stakeholders, employees, creditors, and debtors.
These are only few examples how Big Data can be used. There are many ways in which a company can utilize Big Data and improve their performance and perception among investors and customers. Moreover, with many businesses embracing Big Data, it would be beneficial for businesses to use Big Data before their competitor does.