7 Ways Your Business Can Use Big Data Better

September 29, 2015
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Big data offers insight that can, at times, seem almost god-like in its breadth, depth, and application. Especially for businesses in dire need of a competitive edge, it’shard to overstate the excitement and possibilities that such a wealth of information offers. That being said, big data is only as useful as it is properly wielded, and the question of how to wield it isn’t always easily answered.

Big data offers insight that can, at times, seem almost god-like in its breadth, depth, and application. Especially for businesses in dire need of a competitive edge, it’shard to overstate the excitement and possibilities that such a wealth of information offers. That being said, big data is only as useful as it is properly wielded, and the question of how to wield it isn’t always easily answered. If your business has already embraced the promise of big data, here are seven ways you can still use it better.

1. Better Reports

Big data is supposed to mean better data, but if you and your employees can’t organize it and inges

t it in a way that yields greater efficiency and a more robust bottom line, what use is it? One key to using big data better is to make sure that what’s collected can be properly disseminated, and the generation of better reports can do that for you. With reporting software from companies like Windward, you can embed document and report generation into whatever big data harvesting software you’re using so you and your team can see what’s being gathered and what it means more clearly and more quickly.

2. Better Insight

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Another way in which your company can probably use big data better is in the achievement of better insight. The insight you need from big data depends in large part on the type of work you do. Understanding your customer base better in order to more effectively target them for direct mail campaigns is only useful if you use direct mail. Big data has to be tailored and fine tuned in each instance of its use, or the insight it promises you may not be as applicable as it could be.

3. Better Customer Experience

Gone are the days when customers wanted good customer service; now, they want that and a host of other pro-customer experiences. Let big data help you craft a better customer experience by ensuring that every time someone interacts with your brand, you not only know about it, but you can understand the positives and the negatives of each interaction well enough to more effectively manage them. Customer experience is about the lifetime of a person’s experience with a brand or business. Let big data help you know about and craft each one.

4. Better Speed

It isn’t enough to move faster than your competitors if your movement isn’t in the right direction. With big data, it can be tempting to let every little insight equal a quick jump onto every bandwagon, but doing so is missing the point. Let the speed at which you can now make decisions be more about wisdom than about quickness. Because you can now know more than you ever have in a shorter amount of time, let that truth yield decision-making that is of the highest quality. Better-utilized and applied speed — not more of it — is key. 

Image5. Better Integration

Is IT still a separate department or idea at your business? It’s time for those walls to come down. Technology is no longer it’s own, separate offering that assists business here and there. Like it or not, technology is synonymous with the language in which business happens, and the faster you integrate that reality into the framework of how your company functions, the better. Don’t let big data be something your IT department tackles and sends memos about. From marketing and HR to sales and supply chain, big data needs to be fully integrated into everything you do.

6. Better Accuracy

Trying to improve accuracy is a misguided quest that largely misses what big data can offer you. Accuracy is more about asking the right questions of big data than it is about ensuring that the data you’re getting is right. Improve your accuracy by knowing more specifically what you’re after. Too many businesses assume big data knows what they need. It doesn’t. You do. Ask the right questions, and you’ll get better and more accurate answers.

7. Better Nuance

Nuance is where big data can truly shine. In the past, executives prided themselves on their people skills and intuition as guides that gave them a competitive advantage, and while intuition and the ability to “read” others are invaluable skills in life and business, big data isn’t empathetic. Data-driven at its core and in its application, the nuance offered by big data can be hard to trust, because it’s still so far outside the realm of most businesspeople’s experience. Don’t balk. Let the nuance that’s presented exist as nuance, and treat it as the finely honed, data-driven knowledge it is.

In business, the question is no longer: Should I use big data? The question is how. Follow these seven suggestions, and use big data in a better way.