Using Big Data to Boost Your Business

January 21, 2015
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If you’re not ready for big data, you better get ready soon. By now you’ve likely heard plenty about big data and the many benefits it brings, but it’s all right if you feel a bit of skepticism. Big data has become a popular buzz term, and sometimes it feels like the reality can’t possibly live up to the hype surrounding it. If you’re in the same boat as those eyeing big data cautiously, you likely want to know how exactly big data can, in fact, help your business see more success.

If you’re not ready for big data, you better get ready soon. By now you’ve likely heard plenty about big data and the many benefits it brings, but it’s all right if you feel a bit of skepticism. Big data has become a popular buzz term, and sometimes it feels like the reality can’t possibly live up to the hype surrounding it. If you’re in the same boat as those eyeing big data cautiously, you likely want to know how exactly big data can, in fact, help your business see more success. This is especially important because big data can be a complicated undertaking, with data systems taking into account data variety, volume, and overall analytical complexity. Big data has a lot to offer your business, but before fully utilizing it, you’ll need a proper game plan, and that all starts with knowing about the different ways it can boost your company.

Getting a handle on big data is more important than ever. According to some estimates, roughly 90 percent of the world’s data was generated in only the past two years or so, and more data is being created every day. Where once big data was thought of as just a pipe dream, major corporations like Google, Facebook, and Walmart have adopted it to great effect. One area that is getting the most attention is the use of big data in marketing. Each customer has different needs and motivations, so creating a marketing campaign designed to appeal to a broad audience isn’t the most effective way to reach them in the era of big data. Based off of data collected through social media outlets and web traffic history, companies can customize their websites to appeal to each individual visitor, all in real time. That also means creating individualized offers designed to grab their attention based on their motivations and desires. Considering that roughly 80 percent of customers research online before buying a product or service, this use of big data is one of the most valuable.

This same technique can also be used to help companies research and develop new products and services. Social media has proven to be a rich resource to collect customer sentiment, and this unstructured data can then be transformed into actionable data. That data, in turn, can be used to improve existing products and create new items that customers want. Some of those products may even be altered based upon the region the targeted customer resides in. Essentially, big data is taking business information to the next level, which also speeds up the development of new products, getting them out to the market more quickly. Tests can be performed at a blistering pace, defects and weaknesses fixed, and improvement introduced in a way never before possible.

Big data can also reduce costs by making maintenance more efficient. This is especially helpful for those in the manufacturing industry since equipment can be costly to maintain. With big data, companies can measure how their equipment is performing and know if machines should be repaired or replaced. Think of how much downtime businesses have to suffer through as they constantly fix a machine that keeps breaking down regularly. By using the data they gather from the equipment, companies will be more knowledgeable about how to maintain it and avoid that downtime, thereby saving a lot of time and money.

Beyond new products and customers, big data also can boost a company’s security measures. Fraud has become a rampant problem, and cyber criminals are always changing up their tactics. If businesses want to keep up with the changes, big data is a necessary tool. With big data, companies can sort through large sets of data, identifying patterns of suspicious activity and flagging the data most in need of stronger security protocols. With as much data generated by businesses nowadays, the traditional methods of security simply won’t cut it. Big data can handle the extra workload and uncover the patterns that lead to security breaches before they actually happen.

These are just a few of the ways big data can benefit your business. Even if you’re a small business, the benefits of big data can be gained through open source software, analytical startups, and cloud computing vendors. With these resources, you can go beyond what is cloud computing and big data and jump straight to the benefits. It may requires some period of adjustment, but your business will eventually be able to use big data for marketing, product development, security, equipment maintenance, and more. In the long run, the continued growth and success of your company will be all the proof you need to know that the hype associated big data is real.