Big Data has been around as a key digital trend for several years now with companies realising that if utilised effectively, the data that they gather can be an important business resource.
Companies have always accumulated large amounts of data but, as business processes become increasingly digital, this data is not only growing exponentially, it is also accessible in a way it never was before. Powerful analytical tools enable companies to sort, search, manage, segment and analyse their data in ways that were not previously possible.
Many companies now collect, aggregate, processes and store big data which may be in a structured or unstructured format. This data can come from a variety of sources from internal processes, to input from remote monitoring devices, to customer feedback. The challenge for businesses is to collate, group and analyse this data in a way that enables meaningful business decisions.
There are many areas of a business where big data can be leveraged to make more intelligent business decisions. For example:
1. Utilising Big Data to Inform a Better View of the Customer
With the emergence of the digitally-enabled customer, there is an abundance of data being produced which companies can leverage to gain better insight into the consumer’s wants and needs. This data can range from social media listening, which tracks how people are engaging with a company or brand online, to more structured and specific data such as purchase histories tracked through loyalty schemes.
This data can give companies insights into brand loyalty, spending habits and customer preferences. It can also provide a holistic view of the end-to-end customer journey across various channels such as online, mobile and in-store.
Effectively analysing this data enables companies to make more intelligent business decisions around how to segment, target and communicate with customers. For example, offering personalised discounts and specials to individual customers, through their loyalty app, based off their previous spending habits and preferences.
2. Utilising Big Data to Improve Operational Efficiencies
Big data also has the power to improve operational efficiency within a business. By gathering and analysing data that is generated in remote areas of the business it can track the operational efficiencies of remote systems without human intervention. The increasing use of M2M technology is creating a huge growth in the amount and quality of data that is being collected by companies.
This data is generated by computers, network devices, sensors, meters and GPS devices, and can give enterprises greater insight into remote, device-lead, operations.
By combining this device-generated data with existing enterprise, insight companies can gain a real-time view of their operations and proactively plan to improve their operational efficiency. It also enables the ability to identify and investigate anomalies, and mitigate problems and outages as they happen.
When utilised effectively, big data can be a powerful business asset for a company. Most importantly companies must realise that gathering the data is only half the battle. In order to gain any real benefit from big data it must be properly analysed. Only then can it produce insights that allow for intelligent business decisions.