Few dispute that organisations have more data than ever at their disposal. But actually deriving meaningful insights from that data – and converting that knowledge into action – is easier said than done. One of the key ways to transition from a knowing to a learning business – one that can move forward with new advances and creations based on information – is to harvest, collect and analyse huge quantities of valuable data. This is known as ‘big data’, and business who utilise it fully are seeing fantastic results in every area. But what is big data, and how do we use it to make better business decisions?
What is Big Data?
‘Big Data’ in itself is a term that the industry has been debating for many years, and still there is no complete agreement on the meaning of the term. However, fundamentally big data means not only a large volume of data (as it might first imply), but also includes other features that differentiate it from the concept of ‘massive’ or ‘very large’ data. In other words, there is a reason it’s called Big Data. As a whole, Big Data is considered a data set that is so large or complex that traditional data processing application software is inadequate to deal with it. Challenges in handling Big Data include capture, storage, analysis, data curation, search, sharing, transfer, visualisation, querying, updating and information privacy.
How Can Businesses Use Big Data?
Despite its issues, big data is a huge source of valuable information for businesses. Once they have understood how to handle it, the benefits of utilising big data can be massive. In fact, here are just 3 ways any business can use big data analytics to really improve not only their customer facing services, but their internal operations too.
1. Understand What Makes Your Customers Tick. Understanding your customers is an essential element to business, no matter what industry you’re in. Big data enables businesses to see a fuller picture of their customers – what makes them tick when they buy, how they prefer to shop or consume and what factors lead them to choose one brand or company over the other. This means that business owners can engage in highly targeted marketing and increased sales performance. Useful data sources include in-house sales data, customer service logs, social media data, browser logs, text analytics and large, public data sets.
2. Identify Trends. Spotting and monitoring behaviours and patterns allows business owners to make fairly educated predictions about where things are heading next, how demand for our products or services will change over time and what will prompt the change. Until recently, trend analysis often came down to ‘gut instinct’, but now big data has taken a lot of guesswork out of the process. For businesses offering media services for example, it has allowed them to spot trends in viewing patterns for certain types of programme, allowing them to capitalise on interest in a certain genre much more quickly.
3. Improve Operations. Big data can also be useful in helping businesses improve their everyday operations and business processes through analysis. With any business process that generates data (for example, machinery on a production line, sensors on delivery vehicles or customer ordering systems), you can use that data to make improvements and generate efficiencies. For manufacturing industries, machines, vehicles and tools can be made ’smart’, which means they can be connected, data-enabled and constantly reporting their status to each other. By gathering and analysing this data, organisations can gain real time visibility into operations and look for ways to increase efficiency in supply chain management, big data can be used to optimise routes and improve the tracking process.
At Invenio Business Solutions, we help businesses decode the mysteries of big data and see the true benefits it has to offer. Our innovative solutions mine, collect and condense huge quantities of data to be visualised and analysed for business use. For more information, get in touch with our team of experts today.