Big data is one of the hottest topics in technology today. An array of technologies has come together to make real-time analytics possible for companies both big and small. These include advanced NoSQL databases, data virtualization, and distributed storage along with many software tools that predict the most useful data.
The amount of data each business produces has grown immensely over the past decade. Scientists generally agree that the size of the digital universe will double every two years, a 50-fold increase from 2010 to 2020.
But the technology is only as valuable as what it enables or produces. Companies are collecting massive amounts of data about their business, but how can it help them grow their business? With the right tools and analysis, the data can help you strategize and make more informed decisions.
Let us look at how your business can take advantage of big data, regardless of its size.
The data gathered from your website and social media platforms can tell you a lot about your customers. Big data is making it easier to segment customers into granular group which allows you to tailor messages and products to meet their needs.
Google Analytics is the primary website analytics product on the market, but it has many competitors such as Adobe Analytics for big companies, as well as, Heap and Kissmetrics for mid-sized companies. These products analyze your website data and help you segment out by new and returning visitors and compare different user experiences using A/B testing.
One big advantage of today’s tools is that you can gain insight in real-time instead of running database queries and then waiting for someone to interpret the result. This also allows teams outside of IT or marketing to learn and take advantage of the analysis.
Speedy Decision Making
Big data can help companies make better decisions in less time. Understanding how your products are used provides insights into what is working and where things can be improved. The healthcare industry is using big data and machine learning to reduce drug discovery times and know what drugs have the best chance of success.
A toy manufacturer is using big data to help understand how children use their toys. They do this by embedding sensors into the toys which transmit information back to the company for analysis. The ability to release a toy into the market and receive feedback within days is changing how toys are developed and marketed.
For smaller companies, big data provides a competitive advantage in its ability to help owners test many different decisions and then rolling out only those that worked well in a simulation. Getting to market early with your product can provide a small or new company with a major advantage.
Understand Social Media
Everyone swears by the fact that social media is important, but so few people understand how it works and whether it provides any value. Big data can help you keep track of all your social sites including each time your company is mentioned across various platforms.
How would you like to know when your customers praise or complain about one of your services or products? Do you know which platforms your customers use most often? It is not easy to keep track of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, and the many other platforms, but big data can sift through the data and present only the information you can act on.
You may be surprised to find out your customers do not interact with your company very often on Facebook but look forward to every photo story you post on Instagram. Simply looking at followers and likes tells only a fraction of the story. Big data will help you see the whole picture on every platform.
The Harvard Business Review found that, of the Fortune 1000 that use big data, the majority say it has helped them decrease expenses. Once you begin tracking sales and expense details month over month and year over year, you will find patterns.
Those patterns will tell you the busiest and slowest times of your business so you can make better decisions about employee scheduling, purchasing, and product pricing.
Many executives consider cost-cutting measures to be “low hanging fruit” when it comes to utilizing big data. After they cut costs, they use big data to launch new products and find additional revenue streams, but cost-cutting is often the feature that gets them to initially adopt big data analysis.
One of the advantages of adopting a big data strategy is that he helps your business make wise decisions. A few years ago, a venture capital firm appointed a computer algorithm to its board of directors with the hope it would provide sound investing advice. The firm invested heavily in pharmaceuticals and assigned the algorithm to sift through mountains of data in search of next blockbuster drug used to combat age-related diseases.
Even if your company is not ready to go that far, big data can begin giving you a competitive advantage by helping you make better decisions and making them faster than before. Small and mid-size companies are taking the plunge into big data today. Do not get left behind.