Realising the predictive power of data and how to adopt it to gain competitive advantage in the market
Big Data has the potential to transform the operations of British businesses. But there are essential first steps that organisations need to take in order to begin the Big Data journey.
Using Big Data mining techniques – such as statistics, modelling and machine learning – companies are enabled to look for patterns that are indicative of current or even future behaviour. Companies, such as Amazon, have invested heavily in Big Data analytics tools to ensure that the company remains ahead of the game when evaluating customers’ wants and needs. Amazon itself has even secured a patent for an algorithm-based system, which could result in the company being able to ship products before an order has been placed. This level of customer knowledge requires a powerful, insight-based platform, with an expert team who have the ability to make the most of it.
Big Data enables organisations to move from a reactive stance to a proactive position. Companies with systems in place no longer have to wait to gather information about their customers, they are empowered in real-time with up-to-the-minute knowledge and intelligence – accurately predicting new trends and providing a complete view of the world, therefore gaining a competitive advantage.
Finding the value in complex data
With a wealth of data, resources and information at their fingertips, how do organisations analyse data that leads to actionable insights and genuine business outcomes?
The process starts with strong leadership and planning for the future. At the outset, companies must know what they’re planning to achieve with a Big Data Strategy and Roadmap – then partner with experts who will support them in refining their goals and put in place a scalable action plan to achieve them.
Analysing Big Data isn’t about making predictions because they are cool, ‘outlandish’ or just because you can; it’s about using the right tools to reduce the repetitive manual work and gain critical insights into important decisions that support the business objectives. For example, tasks like investigating fraud in financial services will no longer require significant staffing hours to analyse transactions and flag abnormalities. This can now be done in real-time, resulting in more efficient and lucrative trading.
Focus on Big Data Implementation
We have all read about the potential end-goal benefits from Big Data, however, very little explains how organisations can get there. Organisations must be aware that Big Data insights will not come to fruition overnight. Companies like Facebook, Mercedes and Coca-Cola would have dedicated a significant amount of time and effort to build the right infrastructure which generates the kinds of insights it is benefiting from now.
This process can take a period of months and years, and companies wishing to rush this will be disappointed with the results. However, those that have committed to the journey will be empowered by the knowledge of brand demographics, audience behaviours and customer triggers. Making the decision to start the journey is typically the toughest choice to make, but avoiding the question altogether could leave organisations years behind their competitors and potentially losing their market share. The wide range of economic sectors that will leverage Big Data analytics today and in the next decade include retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and government services.
Companies must also be aware that implementing Big data analytics isn’t merely a ‘plug, play and wait’ solution that will generate results on its own. It will require regular engagement between the vendor and client to tailor the right kind of support. Yet once this relationship is in place, organisations will start to learn from a wider pool of information, data and customer insights.
Exploding population growth managed by Big Data
Big Data analytics is often associated with online shopping, social media sentiment and financial services, but its applications stretch well beyond these subjects. Sectors like agriculture and farming are turning to Big Data to learn, for example how good particular seed and types of fertiliser are in different sections of a farm, or even to predict issues in the supply chain before they happen. These together support the industry to become more efficient in how it feeds populations. Over the next ten years, with population growth showing no sign of stopping, we’re going to be feeding more people with fewer resources – so tapping these resources to get the most out of them will be critical. Big Data will play a significant role in achieving this.
A Big Data strategy is incredibly powerful with the right expert advice and support
The implementation of the right Big Data strategy can have a hugely positive impact on organisations across every vertical, in ways that ten years ago, we could only have imagined. To extract maximum value from these types of strategies, enterprises must consider a number of factors. There must be a clear view of that the end goal is to amount to; and there must be input from experts, who will be able to guide the organisation throughout every stage of the process.