Can Big Data Analytics Transform Businesses?

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Michiko Morales

Working for a technology marketing company has opened my eyes to the latest gadgets, software, startups and trends in the industry. One of the trends I have seen most often during my time here is big data analytics. Your trivia nugget for the day: 90% of the world’s data has been generated in the past three years. That’s a LOT of information!

“Big data” is defined as a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. As a result of technological innovation, we now have a variety of ways to process these huge data sets.

From what I’ve gathered, these things aren’t just buzzwords, but a complete shift in how information is gathered and distributed. And some of our clients have been in the big data analytics industry for a while now, putting their own spin on it. Let’s take a look at how big data analytics has improved business today and how it’s poised to transform businesses in the future.

Better Insight
Big data analytics is amazing for business insight because it makes businesses much more proactive rather than reactive. It also gives businesses a better understanding of their target customers, as well as helps them identify potential audiences. Big data can also make information more transparent and usable at a much higher frequency.

The more data a company collects, the more accurate decisions can be made from it. One of the largest industries that stands to benefit from this technology is retail, thanks to the increased access to consumer data. Advertisers, for example, can cull online or even brick-and-mortar shopping data for a look into the consumer’s likes and dislikes without having to schedule a focus group. Not only does this method deliver accuracy, it saves time and money. Retailers can use this to send personalized offers to shoppers – in real time.

Improved Operational Efficiency
Because of the feedback gathered from big data analytics, companies can leverage information to streamline their business operations. Whether you are leveraging big data to improve call center technology or improve the way companies interact with state and federal government, this technology has already changed how many businesses are run. Targeted company growth on both an employee and revenue level has evolved from an exercise in instinct, decision-making and sometimes pure luck. While those factors are still at play, with big data analytics, even SMB owners now have the ability to make better informed decisions based off of real actionable data points. The result? Smarter, more focused, sustainable growth.

Improved Customer Experience
If your business provides a product or service, customer experience is everything. Big data gives companies the ability to get inside the mind of the consumers – what they look for in a product, their likes, dislikes, etc. It’s truly an unbelievable amount of unstructured data to process, but when used effectively, the possibilities for success are endless. This goes back to the advertising example – big data can provide concrete evidence of what the consumer wants, needs and likes before launching a product or service, creating a much more efficient sales process. But don’t forget the quiet ones – sometimes a lapsed customer can provide telling details about the customer experience that can help improve the overall experience.

Competitive Advantage
Developing a new product? Include big data! Companies taking advantage of big data capabilities have a much better chance of edging out their competition. In fact, a 2014 Gartner survey found that 73% of respondents invested in – or planned to invest in – big data in the next 24 months, up from 64% in 2013. So, if you’re pondering big data in your next release, go for it!
The term “big data” has been thrown around for quite some time, but its potential is just starting to be realized. As computational technology continues to evolve, the future of big data will be extremely interesting and will no doubt play a larger role in many industries.

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Leah Nurik