Big data is built on combing large amounts of information to uncover actionable insights. While the trend took flight in recent years, the concept itself is nothing new. In fact, companies have been gleaning data for business value since the 1950s. Instead of high-tech computers, they used spreadsheets and processed everything manually. Advanced technology has made it possible to analyze and extract answers from your data in ways that were almost unimaginable even 10 years ago.
Today, big data benefits from tremendous boosts in speed, power, and capacity. As a result, organizations have gone from making data-driven decisions in the future to taking immediate action on the spot. According to a survey by McKinsey (p. 43), nearly half of all respondents reported seeing fundamental changes in their sales and marketing strategies after employing analytics. From healthcare and hospitality to education and government, various industries are leveraging big data for a competitive edge.
Now that we’ve set the stage, let’s go deeper by examining three realistic ways you can use big data for your midsized business.
Having the ability to anticipate and mitigate risks before they occur is critical to the long-term viability of any business. Risk management is just one of several areas that stands to benefit from big data. For example, big data can uncover patterns that give you an idea of how likely a security breach or another incident is to take place. This insight can then be used to formulate strategies that help reduce the impact of those risks or prevent them from occurring altogether. When paired with analytics, data is the key to identifying areas of concern and helping businesses decide which risks deserve priority.
Employee Recruitment and Retention
It’s fair to say that you can only go as far as your talent roster. If you’ve been in business any length of time, you surely have a wealth of data on your employee recruitment strategy. That data can go a long way in gaining a better understanding of the process. For instance, human resources can use analytics to reveal problems with the orientation process or IT systems that may be hindering retention in new employees. This gives the department critical insights that can help HR identify candidates that are more likely to struggle, improve retention strategies, and simply make more informed decisions.
If the owner is the visionary and the staff is the engine that drives the work, then the customers are the lifeblood of the entire operation. Every company in existence owes its success to the people who support it with their business. The more data you have on your customers, the more you can craft the customer experience to their liking. This could be as simple as using past purchases or social media engagement to fine-tune future sales that appeal to a larger number of people. A big data strategy can help you make the most of the information at your disposal and deliver what customers truly want.
Big data is making transcendent waves across multiple industries, yet we’ve barely even scratched the surface when it comes to unlocking its true potential. How is your organization taking advantage of big data? Let us know in a comment.