Big data. It’s revolutionizing the way organizations do business. You’ve heard of it and you know that more and more organizations are using big data analytics. In fact, your competitors are probably using big data to plan their marketing. But what is big data and why is it so important? Should you consider big data services for your company or organization?
What is Big Data?
In the past, unless they heard directly from their customers, organizations had to guess what their customers wanted. Companies became successful largely because they guessed right on what the customer wanted. Maybe they paid for a marketing group to analyze their customers and maybe got a snapshot of what the clientele wanted. But a large portion of the business was guesswork and most of the time, those who had the right guesses succeeded.
But not all products that people wanted became successful. Some products failed due to poor marketing or failing to identify their clients and what their needs were. Or failing to address their clientele’s overall concerns. Big data could have addressed their customers’ needs and wants, as well as provide insight as to how to market the product.
So what exactly is big data? Big data is simply data obtained from multiple sources in order to create a bigger picture. In terms of cause and effect, big data analytics services try to determine the cause of whatever the effect is. When talking about customers, big data is the data that the customer supplies to you, intentionally or not. Big data often comes from several sources and may be structured or unstructured, or both.
Obtaining Big Data
There’s no real secret to obtaining big data. Any data in large quantities that gives you a snapshot of your business can be considered big data. You can obtain such data through polls, questionnaires, social media, tracking software, contests, customer service, customer purchases, and other methods. Anything that gives you insight into your customer base can be considered part of the big data you need to process to get the necessary information you need. Even something as simple as a website can allow you to obtain a big data stream when it comes to your customers.
You can obtain data when a customer visits your website in several ways:
- Through tracking cookies
- Through questionnaires, polls, and other information they provide
- Through their buying habits
In other words, big data allows you to see trends in your customers’ purchases and behaviors that allow you to anticipate what they may purchase next. Given the nearly unlimited access to consumers’ behavior, it’s little wonder why companies are taking note. If your company does not use big data to determine trends and mitigate risks, then your organization is behind the competition.
Many companies specialize in tracking customers and offer big data analytics services when it comes time to process the information. Understanding how to process the raw data is key to having insights into your customers’ behaviors and providing predictions into your customers’ purchases in the future. With big data, you can also determine the trends in the marketplace and what might be a new trend in the near future.
Why Big Data is Important
Big data has been around a long time, but it has taken a while for organizations to see the usefulness of big data. Big data doesn’t just track the consumer when they are online — it provides a history of behaviors that big data services can analyze and extrapolate from. If the consumer uses smart devices, makes a purchase with credit cards or checks, or visits establishments that use smart devices, they leave a data trail that can be analyzed by big data consulting to determine possible trends. These trends help businesses understand what drives their customers to make certain purchases over others.
Whenever you go online to read an article, make a purchase, or visit social media, big data is there. Call someone using your smartphone? Big data. Use an app? Big data. Companies are collecting information through tracking software and tracking cookies and that data is available to those who collect it and those who buy it.
How Big Data Can Help Businesses
Knowing that the data is available is one thing. Understanding how it can help your business is something else. Big data can provide insights into your business that you may not have even considered. Analysis of big data can help a business in the following ways:
- It helps mitigate the risk involved in developing and choosing products that will be bought by the business’s customers.
- It helps the business plan effective marketing and development strategies for securing new customers and keeping the old ones.
- It provides a way for streamlining production by showing management what steps aren’t needed, thus eliminating waste.
- It provides supply chain managers the ability to determine the best source for raw materials and the best shipping to obtain the lowest prices, highest quality, and fastest turnaround of supplies and raw materials.
- It helps determine the best places to construct new businesses, given the demographics and behavior of the clientele.
- It helps mitigate financial risks in any project through predictive modeling of possible asset-liability, credit card fraud, and market risk.
- It also helps predict fraud by pinpointing anomalies in the data that may signal criminal activity.
How Companies are Profiting from Big Data
It’s no surprise that savvy companies are profiting from big data. By using big data offerings, they can use big data to predict not only their customer’s and clients future behavior but also the behavior of their competition. Big data can be used to analyze trends in your business whether it is retail, financial, health, educational, marketing, manufacturing, or government. By analyzing trends, marketing may be able to determine the next big product. By using the data collected from manufacturing, you can predict what is the best maintenance cycle for equipment, reducing downtime. You can analyze data from production and determine what method is most effective when it comes to producing a product.
At one time, companies could only get a snapshot. Sometimes they didn’t even get that and had to guess what customers wanted. Thousands of hours and millions of dollars were often wasted on hunches that didn’t pan out. Now with the amount of data obtained through the Internet, places where there were blanks are now being filled in with meaningful data. An organization doesn’t have to rely on a subset of data to see the big picture. Instead, they have the big picture in front of them and are able to make predictions as to what happens next. It’s the closest thing to a crystal ball available to companies that want an edge in the marketplace.
Big data can help predict financial trends, including stocks, bonds, interest rates, and other hard to predict markets. In fact, being able to access data from past performances helps the financial sector predict whether recession, inflation, or economic growth is on the horizon.
What’s Next? In the past, businesses had to prove themselves agile by entering the digital age with computers. Now, organizations need to evolve once again. Savvy businesses are transcending from the digital age to the age of big data, where the data produced is now more important than ever. Whether obtained through the cloud, another network, or an old mainframe, the data companies receive will become crucial for those looking to stay on top of their business or grow their business to the next level. Big data allows organizations to plan products, reduce waste, cut costs, mitigate risks, and stay in touch with their customers like never before. This is why it is so important to have the right big data analytics services so that your organization can become more profitable and agile in years to come. Big data is a business’s future.