How Big Data is changing the business landscape 

Big Data is increasingly being used by prominent companies to outpace the competition. Be it established companies or start-ups, they are embracing data-focussed strategies to outpace the competition.

In healthcare, clinical data can be reviewed treatment decisions based on big data algorithms that work on aggregate individual data sets to detect nuances in subpopulations that are so rare that they are not readily apparent in small samples.

Banking and retail have been early adopters of Big Data-based strategies. Increasingly, other industries are utilizing Big Data like that from sensors embedded in their products to determine how they are actually used in the real world.

Big Data is useful not just for its scale but also for its real-time and high-frequency nature that enables real-time testing of business strategies. While creating new growth opportunities for existing companies, it is also creating entirely new categories of companies that capture and analyse industry data about products and services, buyers and suppliers, consumer preferences and intent.

What can Big Data analytics do for you?

*Optimise Operations

The advent of advanced analytics, coupled with high-end computing hardware, has made it possible for organizations to analyse data more comprehensively and frequently.

Analytics can help organisations answer new questions about business operations and advance decision-making, mitigate risks and uncover insights that may prove to be valuable to the organisation. Most organisations are sitting upon heaps of transactional data. Increasingly, they are discovering and developing the capability to collect and utilise this mass of data to conduct controlled experiments to make better management decisions.

* React faster

Big Data analytics allows organisations to make and execute better business decisions in very little time. Big Data and analytics tools allow users to work with data without going through complicated technical steps. This kind of abstraction allows data to be mined for specific purposes.

* Improve the quality of services

Big Data analytics leads to generation of real business value by combining analysis, data and processing. The ability to include more data, run deeper analysis on it and deliver faster answers has the potential to improve services. Big Data allows ever-narrower segmentation of customers and, therefore, much more precisely tailored products or services. Big Data analytics helps organizations capitalize on a wider array of new data sources, capture data in flight, analyse all the data instead of sample subsets, apply more sophisticated analytics to it and get answers in minutes that formerly took hours or days.

* Deliver relevant, focussed customer communications

Mobile technologies tracks can now track where customers are at any point of time, if they’re surfing mobile websites and what they’re looking at or buying. Marketers can now serve customised messaging to their customers. They can also inform just a sample of people who responded to an ad in the past or run test strategies on a small sample.

Where is the gap?

Data is more than merely figures in a database. Data in the form of text, audio and video files can deliver valuable insights when analysed with the right tools. Much of this happens using natural language processing tools, which are vital to text mining, sentiment analysis, clinical language and name entity recognition efforts. As Big Data analytics tools continue to mature, more and more organisations are realizing the competitive advantage of being a data-driven enterprise.

Social media sites have identified opportunities to generate revenue from the data they collect by selling ads based on an individual user’s interests. This lets companies target specific sets of individuals that fit an ideal client or prospect profile. The breakthrough technology of our time is undeniably Big Data and building a data science and analytics capability is imperative for every enterprise.

A successful Big Data initiative, then, can require a significant cultural transformation in an organisation. In addition to building the right infrastructure, recruiting the right talent ranks among the most important investments an organization can make in its Big Data initiative. Having the right people in place will ensure that the right questions are asked – and that the right insights are extracted from the data that’s available. Data professionals are in short supply and are being quickly snapped up by top firms.

(Mahendra Mehta heads the Big Data & Analytics Programme at S.P. Jain School of Global Management. Vibhanshu Bisht is a senior consultant with the programme. The views expressed are personal. They can be contacted at mahendra@neuraltechsoft.com)

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