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Big data. You may have heard of it; after all it’s been putting in an appearance at boardroom meetings across the globe for some time now. But what actually is big data? And what does it mean when applied in a business environment? More importantly, what can it do and how can it help your organization to succeed? And getting down to the nitty-gritty, does the term big data actually mean anything – or is it just another empty industry buzz word? The good news is that it’s not, and using big data can actually help drive profit. Read on to learn more.
So, we’ve established that big data is causing a stir and creating a buzz in companies that are in the know. In fact, it’s become hip to bandy about the phrase whenever one is trying to impress their boss, senior management or fellow co-workers. But like any lingo or jargon that is currently cool, it really doesn’t count for a whole lot if it doesn’t mean anything, particularly in the workplace.
The good news is that, unlike some of the more hackneyed expressions thrown around by those colleagues that are so desperate to impress their seniors, big data does actually mean something. And, more to the point, it can help your business thrive. Big data can help you achieve that end result that everyone in business is chasing: profit.
This is why big data is trending so sharply at the moment – after all, every owner or manager of a small or medium-sized business wants to grow their bottom line. Times are hard in many industries: increasing competition from abroad, the threat of the internet to bricks-and-mortar stores, a difficult economic climate – the list goes on. But what if something as simple as using your business’s data could push you heads and shoulders above the competition, and help turn around that downwards or flatlining arrow on your sales chart and point it upwards in the direction of success?
But before we get to that; what actually is “big data”? Why is it big? Well, we may have said that using data to grow profit is simple but, in actual fact, it’s really not as easy as all that. Big data is used to refer to various sets of data that are so huge and so complex that the traditional methods of processing data are virtually useless. Database management tools and other processing applications become redundant and are just not up to the task of capturing, storing, searching for, sharing, transferring, analyzing, and visualizing data.
Instead of looking at separate small sets of data, big data – as the name implies – looks at larger sets that contain far more information. This enables anyone analyzing the results to cross-check the sets and pinpoint trends, both positive and negative, across the entire business. As a result, owners and managers can make more informed decisions that affect the company in a more beneficial way than is possible by merely looking at small, isolated sets of data.
Big data therefore plays a valuable role in strategy and planning, and also helps troubleshoot worrying or problematic trends that threaten the performance and profitability of the business. Put simply, using big data to assist in making decisions for your company is about being able to see the bigger picture (to use another tired corporate buzz phrase). Decisions made with all the facts at hand will naturally help increase revenue, as opposed to blindly feeling in the dark and making changes to one area or department that may negatively affect another.
There are a number of ways that you can use big data analytics to make better decisions and increase profit. Crucially, it allows you to see what really makes your customers tick. Nowadays many businesses offer different ways for their customers to communicate with them. From email to a website, to phone calls and human interaction, all of these present you with meaningful information about your clients’ behavior. Knowing what your customers rely on you for, how they interact with you, and where they may hesitate or stumble when using your services, provides a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be mined. However, a lot of this data is unstructured and therefore cannot be analyzed using traditional means. That’s where big data comes in: it can help you uncover the information you need to really understand your customers.
Of course it goes without saying that a deeper understating of your customers can help you grow your customer base, increase repeat business, heighten customer loyalty, and reduce bounce rates and the number of dissatisfied customers. But that’s not all – analyzing this data will allow you to develop new products or services, create stronger, more effective marketing campaigns, and create an all-round better experience for the people that matter most – the people you serve.
Want to learn more about big data, and find out how it can have a seriously positive impact on your business’s revenue? Talk to us today – we have the knowledge and experience to help you really get the most out of your company’s intel.
Published on 25th December 2015 by Jeanne DeWitt.