Over the last two years, big data has been changing the way countless companies operate, and looking to the future that doesn't plan on stopping.
Big data promises to bring about further disruption as its revolution works its way through large and small organizations. Here are just seven ways that big data is changing business.
1. Better Business Intelligence
Business intelligence is a set of data tools that is used to better analyze a business. It goes hand in hand with big data. Before the rise of big data, business intelligence was rather limited. Big data has given rise to business intelligence as a legitimate career. Many companies are gearing up by hiring business intelligence experts because they help take a company to the next level.
Business intelligence can be utilized in any business that generates data. Nowadays, it’s rare to find a business that is not generating any data at all. This means that any business can benefit from better business intelligence. New uses for business intelligence are being devised regularly.
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2. More Targeted Marketing
Big data’s first big mark on businesses has been its creation of more targeted marketing. Big data has allowed businesses to create laser targeted marketing campaigns. While big data analysis isn’t always 100% accurate, it can be highly accurate. This high accuracy allows companies to target marketing to perceived customer needs.
Big data analysis can help business predict what products customers might need in the future. Several years ago, there was a story that Target accurately predicted a pregnancy based on purchase history. While current data analysis techniques are not quite at the level to make these kinds of predictions regularly, they are converging to that.
Imagine how your business would benefit from being able to market the products that you knew your customers needed and knew enough information about them to tailor your message to their very specific needs.
3. Proactive Customer Service
Big data can and will turn customer service upside down. Businesses can know exactly what their customers need before the customer even needs to voice their concern. This kind of proactive customer service will revolutionize business that desires to differentiate themselves based on superior customer service.
Imagine calling into a business. Real-time big data analysis of the customer’s account and even company websites visits can predict one or two issues that the customer could need help dealing with. A voice prompt could even be employed to ask the customer if this was their issue and provide automated help if the customer chooses.
Either way, customer support would have a good idea what the call was about and deliver knowledgeable customer service. Further big data analysis could allow customer support to proactively contact customers on accounts where predictive analysis determines that the customer might have a future issue.
4. Customer Responsive Products
Big data promises to not only improve customer service by making it more proactive but also it will allow companies to make customer responsive products. Product design can be focused on fulfilling needs of customers in ways that have never been possible. Instead of relying on customers to tell your business what they are looking for in a product, you can use data analysis to predict what they are looking for in a product. Customers who share their preferences via surveys and buying habits. Even use case scenarios can create a better picture of what a future product should look like.
5. Rise of the CDO and Data Departments
Big data is not only changing how businesses deal with customers but also in how they operate internally. During the 80s and 90s, the IT department came to the forefront in business. IT was the driving force of productivity increases and general business growth. Along with the IT department came the rise of the Chief Information Officer. Businesses are now developing data departments separate from the IT department. They are also appointing Chief Data Officers who report directly to the CEO.
Much of this is because of data’s business importance. Blue Coat Systems finds that companies are not elevating data in importance but they are also working to protect it. According to Blue Coat, the average data breach costs a business $199. Costs are difficult to absorb for businesses and that’s why it’s important for them to focus on ensuring that big data has the right status in organizations.
6. Efficiency Improvements
Industrial engineers are engineers of efficiency. They know that you can’t make a process more efficient without having data. Big data is supplying rich data about every product and process. This rich data is telling a story that smart businesses are listening to.
Engineers are analyzing big data and looking for ways to make processes run more efficiently. Big data analysis works well with Theory of Constraints. Constraints are easier to recognize and once recognized, it’s easier to identify how if the constraint is the most binding constraint. When this constraint is discovered and the removed, the business can see huge increases in performance and throughput. Big data helps supplies these answers.
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7. Reduce Costs
Big data has the power to provide the information needed to reduce business costs. Specifically, companies are now using this technology to accurately find trends and predict future events within their respective industries. Knowing when something might happen improves forecasts and planning. Planners can determine when to produce and how much to produce. They can determine how much inventory to keep on hand.
A good example is inventory expenses. It’s expensive to carry inventory. Not only is there an inventory carrying cost, but there is also tying up capital in unneeded inventory. Big data analysis can help predict when sales will occur and likewise help predict when production needs to occur. Further analysis can show when the optimal time is to purchase inventory and even how much inventory to keep on hand.
Big data is something to embrace if you want to help your business achieve more. It won’t be long before those businesses that haven’t embraced big data will find themselves left behind.