Today, business is moving at such a speed that it is creating large volume of digitized data from which some value has to be extracted. The fact is that behind various structured and unstructured data are answers to some of the crucial business questions. Unfortunately, no one sees the answer due to technological limitations. Unbelievable volume of data is being generated but organizations are still figuring with what to do with those data.
With the advent of new computing, storing and networking technologies, companies are now trying to harness big data economically as well as efficiently which may convert it into a wide source of advantage for businesses. According to Forrester research, companies hardly deal with 5% because of the perceived entailed cost that comes with big data extraction and analysis.
The unused 95% data could very well be the most significant chunk. If it is used efficiently then it can refine complex business initiatives, identify operational roadblocks and help in developing new services and products. The productivity of Big Data is clear but for extracting those data investment in technologies and updated workforce is desirable. But first of all, a clear idea about Big Data is necessary to start with.
What is Big Data?
Big Data refers to the accumulation of structured and unstructured business data which are gathered from various sources. It focuses on certain data sets which are raw as well as unstructured and can’t yield successful results using relational database analysis. Volume, variety, velocity and veracity are four dimensions of Big Data. It is certain that Big Data will prove to be beneficial for companies but senior officials of companies should look for strategies which can help them concrete ideas on how to do it.
What companies should do?
New data is created each and every day ranging from terabytes to petabytes and even more. Meta data, which is the data about data, is increasing twice as fast as compared to digital universe. It is the responsibility of business leaders to capitalize these tons of data for their own advantage. Companies which are using their technologies, culture and operations are surely to gain profits from big data as compared to those who don’t want to risk their money and processes for the analysis of big data. Here is an excellent list from EMC:
Start with what you know and have
Companies most likely have an existing way of collecting data, start with that. Companies must already be collecting consumer information, rise and fall of revenue and others. That’s a good starting point. Collect data that would help your existing objectives. From there, companies will eventually become more familiar with the data they collect and find ways on how to use it better.
Departments need to work together
The data are useless unless it serves a purpose. Different departments must work with the IT department to determine what they need to know and how that data they are accumulating could help.
Put it to work
Analysis is good but no company will know the full potential of big data unless it is tested. Companies need to launch a project and use big data as a foundation in running it or use big data to provide solution to existing problems.
Stress test it
Look for weaknesses. Companies need to know how else they can improve their data collection and interpretation.
Get people to interpret it
They should engage efficient workforce for interpretation of data in an effective manner which can help organizations in deeper insight into various business trends and practices.
Benefits from Big Data
It is noticeable that websites alone generate revenue from data. For example, Facebook, one of the social networking sites, alone has 800 million users who continuously interact with almost 900 million objects every day. Based on what members say, ads are pushed to them. Based on what they mention or post, Facebook determines what are “hot” issues and trends.
Google is using the same thing. They push ads based on consumer behavior.
There are also various companies are using this huge data as a source to achieve better knowledge about their employees, customers, partners and other business aspects.
Big Data also helps in providing a new visibility to business world. Business intelligence tools are required to reveal value from the information generated by Big Data. Initially it was said that excess of everything is bad but now accumulation of huge quantity of data offers new methodologies of driving efficiency, making money and providing company an edge over its competitors. So vast benefits of big data is now being realized by companies in various sectors of business. It is high time now that companies should work toward betterment of their infrastructure, culture and processes to get timely benefit. In coming years Big Data may redefine business again and those companies who will understand its importance might be the new business leaders in the market.
Big Data and the Cloud model
Cloud model provide an option to companies for affordable, scalable and portable big data analysis. With the help of cloud model, organizations can extract valuable business information from big data. According to the magazine CIO, cloud services are seen as an innovative platform for quick big data analysis. So the companies who are still looking for infrastructure to extract big data can use cloud services for the above means. These models encourage quick access to data and try to solve the storage problem of data. The cost of storing data is also reducing so now it is within the reach of organizations to tame big data and use them for earning benefits for the organization.
Using Big Data for generating revenues
Big Data offers opportunities. It is just a matter of identifying how all the data being collected can lead the company to better profit margins, better operational processes and better sales. The possibilities are endless:
- Consumer behavior – information on what products consumers usually look at but don’t buy can provide insights on how to better present products
- Consumer origin – how did consumers find the site? Was it from a friend who posted it in facebook or through a search? From what countries are they coming from? All these will help the company come up with better marketing strategies.
- Time spent – how long do they stay on your site and what pages did they visit right before they left?
- Competition – companies should also look at how the competition. What is the competition doing that’s attracting more visitors.
There is more. There are many other data types that may be collected that could reveal problems or insights about your brand or product.
For many companies, the chief information officer (CIO) is the one who is acting upon providing opportunities from big data. It shouldn’t be the case. Brand manager, business managers and other personnel involved in coming up with business strategies and consumer relation should become highly involved.
CIOs are naturally the one more focused regarding understanding of business outcomes, processes and operations. However, he should only take his cue from those people who directly deal with customers and their products.
In the future, Big Data will certainly affect company’s growth in every sector. Every company needs to institute changes in its overall infrastructure to allow big data to reveal the information that are useful for company’s existence in the market.
Several users in the organizations should be provided with the power of analysing complex data sets with the help of big data. Once the companies start taking step towards extracting big data, they will definitely have a new insight. For achieving the full potential of big data, effective approach to management, determination, thoughtful behaviour, analytic capabilities and intelligence are the keys.