How to get the Most out of Big Data for your Business?

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At first glance, the term big data seems like a new buzzword which is joining the already overcrowded business party. However, scratching beneath the surface reveals something bigger going on. This technology allows businesses to collect an immense amount of data, and we all know that staying in tune with the customers’ wants and needs is what makes or breaks a company nowadays. Alas, capturing and harnessing data on such a scale is linked with some major challenges. Organizations must ensure that the data is actionable to maximize the return on the investment. A week-old data no longer cuts it, as the future is now.  

Million little pieces

Predicting the demand and market trends with lightning speed and accuracy is what gives companies an edge in the competitive business arena. However, defining clear goals is a perquisite for any investment in the big data area. The demanding process of gathering an extensive data pays off only if there is a clear idea of what you want to achieve. So, discern whether the focus is on the key performance indicators (KPIs), client’s behavior, or their interactions with the company.  Only then can a company serve itself, generate in-house reports, and present the findings in portals and dashboards.

All of this is the result of consistent effort, strategic thinking, and some tech wizardry. Many businessmen boast about their analytic capabilities in the area of social media feed, but this is just one possible example. Other exciting fields are booming, which is certainly the case with the Internet of Things. Here, a sensory machine data is monitored to get a hold of inventory, logistics and shipments. One can also utilize big data for a variety of other purposes: Enhancing customer service, human resources, financial data, etc.

Killing it softly

There is a strong tendency to acquire fresher and fresher data. Sometimes, a vital piece of info is needed in a matter of minutes, making real-time data a necessity.   Generally, tiny bits and sets of data must be connected and then translated into handy information for decision makers. Unfortunately, analyzing data from external sources is no cakewalk. This is particularly tricky in the supply chain, which is mostly out of the company’s control, and needs more oversight.  It gets even more complex with global trade, which includes a matrix of multi-level networks and a plethora of separate organizations.

analysis

The good news is that advanced software is already used to extract relevant data automatically. Databases are also getting bigger and bigger, and more funds are allocated towards big data. That does not help in its analysis, however, which still gives us headaches. Well, the latest killer software solutions are aiming to change this. First off, platforms like SQL, NoSQL and Hadoop enable quick access to data, which is the cornerstone of the whole endeavor. What comes next is mixing, matching, cleaning up, and integrating the material for analysis.

This used to be an insurmountable obstacle for many organizations, but by using professional business analytics software these problems can easily be avoided. Yet, note that we do need human analysis to make sense of all the facts and figures. High complexity in these areas means that this is impossible without thorough knowledge about the data, their dependencies, AI and mathematical models. That is why entrepreneurs seek the services of mathematicians and data scientists instead of trainees and programmers. And when the science and business forge a lasting alliance, great things are bound to happen.

Dream big

The only way to get the business off the ground is to keep the fingers on the pulse of the customers and predict emerging trends. However, one must separate the wheat from the chaff and pay close attention to the data that is vital for decision making. Assembling the unstructured data calls for meticulous analysis, planning and coordination. Moreover, complex data sets require advanced analytical algorithms, which is a nightmare for those who are not overly tech-savvy. This is, ultimately, a great way to get to know your business better, and establish meaningful connections with the buyers.

Marcus Jensen is an IT professional. He is an Editor-in-Chief of Technivorz blog, and writes about technology, business and marketing.

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