What’s big data? And, how can you use them to provide an empowered experience to your customers? Here you’ll find the answers to these questions.

Big data is one of the topics many businesses are expected to address these days. In a world that’s rapidly adopting a new generation of technologies and tools, you are at risk of getting left behind if you choose not to leverage big data. While the term “Big Data” has been around for a number of years, it is still unclear to many what it really means, much less how to start making use of it.

How big is big data?

So, it’s clearly big, but how big is big? The numbers used to describe the magnitude of Big Data are pretty hard to relate to. How many of us know how big an exabyte or a zettabyte is? And how much data is actually created every year? At our current pace, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. It is estimated that by the year 2020, the data created and copied will reach 44 Zettabytes (44 trillion Gigabytes). If downloaded onto 128GB iPads, that would be 6.6 stacks of iPads reaching from the Earth to the Moon! Two things about Big Data are certain. It’s big and getting bigger, with no signs of slowing down. 

But in terms of business, it’s not so much the amount of data that is important but what the organization plans to do with it that matters. Big Data in itself is just information. But when you bring together Big Data with Analytics and that large amount of data is computed in a certain way, it will reveal patterns, trends and relationships. This discovery and insight into the business allows for informed decision-making and even predictions to where the company is headed.


How big data can help your business

Examples of how Big Data can help your business:

  • Get to know your customers better: Big data can show which customers are buying your products – their ages, income brackets, locations, etc. – – helping you to decide who to target in the future.
  • Make sense of social media: Big data can be used to identify mentions of your business or products on social sites, including positive experiences and complaints, and analyze unstructured data to find valuable information that you can use to make smarter business decisions moving forward.
  • Increase productivity: Big data can be used to enhance supply chain capabilities for increased manufacturing productivity.
  • Make your deliveries more efficient: Big data can be used in consolidating shipments and maximizing freight movement and logistics to save on costs and provide competitive advantage

” Understanding how to best approach Big Data can be intimidating but, once you’ve done it, you’ll find a treasure for your business.    twitter_greenTweet

Where can you start using data?

So where to start? The first step, of course, is to start systematically collecting your data. If you are not collecting the data that is being produced, there is no way to reap the benefits of the insights. You might, for instance, be getting data from your customer relationship management system (CRM), your website or your e-commerce platform.

Infrastructure will be an important element to consider. What and how much will the company need for processing and analyzing the data? Depending on the size and needs of your organization, you may want to consider one of the many affordable cloud-based solutions before expanding on your in-house infrastructure. 

Next, take a look at the kinds of data you are collecting. Which data streams could help you better serve your customers or potentially improve your business, decrease costs or enhance productivity? With these answers you can prioritize and organize your data, and decide which data sets you want to analyze.

Be sure to provide employees a wide access to the data, offer a common platform for viewing, analyzing, and sharing it, and ensure that employees get training, so they can think critically and interpret the results. Business teams should own their Big Data and the leadership should provide adequate support. 

Understanding how to best approach Big Data can be intimidating, especially for data management teams who are otherwise occupied with the day-to-day data processing requirements. Setting up a dedicated, parallel team to work with the business stakeholders and existing data experts within the organization, is an important step towards successful integration of Big Data. New skills and training will be required, and a strategy and execution plan for Big Data should be developed. Developing your strategy and executing the initial implementations together with an experienced external organization can speed the integration of Big Data processing into your business and get you started on the right foot.


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