Ever heard about the hot buzzword ‘Big Data’ and wondering what it means? Can it do wonders for your business too like the big corporations? Don’t worry, we’re here to answer these questions.
Big data is a term used to describe a large volume of data that a business is flooded with on a daily basis. So, is the amount of data really important? Of course not, it’s what a company does with the data that matters. That’s when ‘analytics’ comes into the picture. Big data can be analysed for insights on the data which leads to better decisions and business strategies.
Why are big data and analytics important?
Big data and analytics help organisations work on their data to identify new opportunities, leading to smarter business strategies, efficient operations, higher profits and happier customers. Companies using big data normally find value in the following ways:
1. Cost reduction
Big data platforms such as Hadoop and cloud-based analytics bring significant cost advantages. They not only help in storing large amounts of data, but also can identify more efficient ways of doing business.
2. Faster and better decision making
With the speed of Hadoop and in-memory analytics, businesses can now analyse information immediately and make decisions based on it.
3. New products and services
With the ability to gauge customer needs and satisfaction through analytics companies can give customers what they want. With big data analytics, more companies are creating new products to meet their customers’ needs.
Applications of big data and analytics in the real business world
Big business along with few small and local businesses also are using big data analysis in their day to day operations. Let’s have a look at the examples below.
1. Smart fast food restaurants
Ever noticed while standing in a long queue at the takeaway counter of McDonald's or Burger King, the queue suddenly starts moving faster than expected? Yes, that’s because they’re monitoring the drive-through or take away lanes and changing menus accordingly.
At times when there are big queues, the menu reflects items which take less time to prepare and vice-versa. They’re now serving your fast food smartly.
2. We miss you!
Imagine you’re thinking about what to order for lunch in the office. Suddenly a message pops up on your phone saying, “we miss you” with an offer/discount from one of your favourite restaurants, where you haven’t been in a while. Problem solved, you instantly use the offer code to place the order and enjoy your meal.
Restaurants track regular customers who haven’t recently visited or placed an order. Then they send messages via email or phone to such customers with an offer/discount to welcome them back. This sweet gesture often works and the customer feels special.
3. Call centre analytics
Big Data solutions can help identify recurring problems, customer complaints, behaviour patterns, etc. After identifying problems, companies can offer solutions. In turn, providing better customer service.
4. Social media analysis
Analysis of social media activity is one of the most important applications of big data analytics. Everyone is on social media these days, whether they ‘like’ company pages on Facebook or tweet complaints about products on Twitter. A Big Data solution can make sense of the chatter. Social media can provide real-time understandings of how the market is responding to products and campaigns. With the help of these insights, companies can adjust their pricing, promotion, and campaign placement for optimal results.
Benefits of big data for businesses
Big data is a powerful tool. A decent big data platform lets business ask and answer more questions, allows for more accurate decision-making and empowers the workforce. We’ve listed down a few advantages of big data for businesses.
1. Competing with big businesses becomes easier
Using the same tools that big businesses are using allow you to be on the same playing field. Your business becomes more efficient by taking advantage of sophisticated tools available.
2. Focus on local preferences
Small businesses should focus on the local environment which they cater to. Big Data allows you to zoom into your local client’s likes/dislikes, preferences and even more. When you get to know your customers’ preferences combined with a personal touch, you can offer more customised products as per their needs. This way, you’ll have an advantage over your competition.
3. Big data helps increase sales
The digital footprints which users leave behind while browsing reveal a great deal of insight into their shopping preferences, beliefs, etc. This data allows businesses to offer customised products and services as per customer wants, in turn increasing sales.
4. Helps you hire the right employees
Companies can scan a candidate’s profile for keywords that would match the job description. The hiring process becomes more transparent.
5. Get more specific answers for your questions
Managing a business involves answering questions like:
- What customers want?
- What are customers’ needs?
- Who are our best customers?
- Why do customers leave us?
Answering such questions could take up to 60 days for business teams to analyse. Even after getting the right criteria, compiling and analysing the data is a time-consuming process. The burden will only grow as questions became more complex.
With a powerful big data platform, answering these questions becomes a relatively straight-forward process. The whole process can be shortened from months and weeks, to days and even hours or minutes.
Like everything else, big data also has a downside along with the tremendous upside. As a consumer, we’re giving away a lot of data to big companies like Facebook and Google, in the temptation of using free services.
Uncle Ben from Spiderman rightly said, “with great power comes great responsibility”. With huge data of customers in hand, brands should be very cautious that consumers are aware of how their data is used and should be allowed to opt in or out.
Big data and analytics have become a necessity for business growth. The cost of ignoring it is too high in this data-driven age. A move towards a more analytics-driven approach for firms can potentially open up new horizons of growth. So, go ahead and explore the big world of big data!