“Big data” has become a well-known buzzword. While many businesses talk about big data, the process of using it to gain a competitive advantage remains somewhat of a mystery to the uninitiated. Big data can be a keystone of growth for your business, leveraging insights that, until a few years ago, were not possible to obtain. Adrian Jones explores the world of big data and its potential to create innovation in the business world.
What is Big Data?
Big data is the science of analyzing datasets pertaining to your business. Every business generates a vast amount of data each year, and some companies are not aware of how to make it work for them. Customer sales data, inventories, and customer behavior data are just a few examples. Big data reflect insider knowledge and enables companies to make beneficial decisions.
The Beginnings of Big Data
The concept of “big data” has been around since the early 2000s. Big data can be defined by the three Vs:
Organizations collect a vast amount of data. This data can come from business transactions, smart devices, industrial equipment, social media, internal communications, and more. Storing this data would have been a problem in the past, but data collection and storage solutions have become more sophisticated in recent years.
Data moves incredibly quickly. Streaming in from sources like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, RFID tags, sensors, and smart meters, businesses are searching for ways to deal with and use this data in real-time.
Data can take many forms. Structured, numeric data like databases and sales records form part of the picture, while unstructured emails, videos, and text documents are another.
Data flows are unpredictable. They change often and vary greatly. Businesses need to stay on top of their exposure on social media and how to manage daily and event-triggered peak data loads.
Data quality is also a huge factor to be aware of. Data may be streaming in from everywhere, but it needs to be gained from a reliable source. Bad data ranges from duplicates to incorrectly entered information. Employees in contact with the databases need to be trained to enter information accurately. Without data veracity, big data is useless and can even provide misleading insights.
The Importance of Big Data
Big data’s importance is not determined by how much data you have, but what you make of it. Data from any source can be analyzed to gain insights into time and cost reductions, new product development, and smart decision making.
Some of the ways in which big data can be leveraged to provide your business with an advantage include determining the root cause of failures and defects in real-time. In the retail landscape, big data can allow for the generation of coupons and discounts based on the customer’s buying habits. Big data can recalculate risk portfolios in minutes, a task that would take a human a great deal of time. Big data can detect fraudulent activity and prevent it from hurting your bottom line.
Automation Tools that Optimize Big Data
Many businesses want to use big data to further their mission, but they are unsure about how to proceed. Fortunately, there are tools available to help companies to take advantage of big data and organize their response.
Automation tools help businesses target specific customers. It helps them understand which demographic groups are interested in their products or services. They can also determine where and when to market these products to increase sales.
Using big data automation tools, businesses can increase the value of their data by decreasing the amount of time they must devote to managing it. Offering data protection, enhancing the speed of retrieval, and providing a unified view of their data are a few functions shared by the best data automation solutions.
Automated Preparation of Data
Many scientists and engineers spend most of their time preparing their data for use. Data may be riddled with duplicates and inaccuracies, requiring a great deal of cleanup before it can be used. Automation tools can help to reduce the amount of time wasted on cleaning up data and allow businesses to skip to the “good part,” receiving insights tailored to their situation. Some of the software solutions that can help companies tame their data are AWS Data Pipelines, Kafka, and SAP HANA Data Management. Companies can also develop proprietary data management tools.
One aspect of big data that many businesses could use is customer analytics. Analytics can be drawn from static and streaming data sources. The purpose of this analysis is to enhance decision support and bring in new ways of understanding existing data sets.
Customer analytics can increase customer retention. They can help create more up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. They can foster seamless collaboration between business units. They can also increase advertising revenues.
The Future of Big Data
As the years go by, advances in big data will help every business better understand their daily activities. Automation tools with AI will become more robust, and the number of staff needed to take care of data will decrease. Adrian Jones believes that all businesses should be open to a big data approach and that leveraging information can help them gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.