We live in an increasingly digitized world. Many aspects of daily life are now online—news, products, social media, work, entertainment, and more. At 51 years old, the internet may no longer be a new frontier, but it still feels like a platform of infinite possibility and growth.
In order to remain competitive, organizations must be able to tap into the forces that drive consumers digitally. A key element of this is big data. Big data is just that, a lot of data. It is collected rapidly, and at high volumes, in order to analyze the trends and patterns that drive customers, industries, and life itself. Using software, companies can easily analyze this amount of data for their own specific purposes.
In the last year, the number of IT professionals using big data descriptive and predictive statistics grew from 40% to 60%.
Although human creativity and reasoning is important in developing effective marketing and advertisements, it is also true that the numbers never lie. Big data allows companies to form marketing campaigns based off of their target audiences’ personal information, interests, location, digital interactions, financial transactions, and more.
This data can be entirely objective, but it can also make advertising a more relevant experience for consumers.
Beyond just marketing efforts, large amounts of information can help provide recommendations and more personal experiences for existing/subscribing customers. This is particularly relevant within entertainment industries.
For example, Spotify uses big data to create curated playlists for users. Amazon Prime and Netflix use big data to provide movie/tv recommendations based off of your prior viewings. In this instance, it not only helps gain new costumers, but also provides a better experience for existing customers.
Big data can also help with product innovation. Every step of launching a product utilizes analytics. This includes figuring out the viability and demand for a product, analyzing the short-term success of a product, and projecting its long-term results. The rapid nature of data collection allows firms to make quick decisions and reduce the chance of pursuing failing projects.
For example, Starbucks uses vast amounts of data to analyze the viability of a new store location before developing it by examining average income, population density, and traffic levels in the area. There are no longer “shot in the dark” scenarios—there are only quantifiable results.
Big data is being utilized to aid in risk management tactics. For example, it can aid in identifying discrepancies/outliers that could insinuate fraudulent activity or security risks. Businesses, governments, and banks can use this tactic to try to prevent hacking or data theft.
Another risk management tactic is analyzing finances within a company. Large trends can reveal evidence of misuse or “loopholes”. This provides airtight financial protection.
For manufacturing and natural resources, big data is a fairly untapped resource. A study by Deloitte broke down some aspects the supply chain that can utilize it. These include forecasting demand, improving GPS/tracking capabilities, improving robotics in manufacturing, expanding integrated business planning, and analyzing competitive advantage. It seems the possibilities within this more tangible industry are still developing.
Many experts agree that we are really only at the beginning of the impact that this much information will have on business and technology. Select colleges and universities are now going so far as to offer majors focused specifically on the field. Read more information on big data for additional insights and applications.
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