As SVP, Professional Services at BairesDev, Damian oversees the entire customer relations life-cycle, safeguarding the company’s operations.
Big data has taken center stage in recent years, with companies in a huge range of industries beginning to understand the opportunities it can bring. Yet, I find there is still a lack of understanding surrounding the concept. Big data is far more than a buzzword—it has the potential to completely transform what we do and how we do it.
As a leader at a tech company, I understand that this may seem like a complex concept that’s not necessarily relevant to non-tech companies and professionals. But I have seen how it can incite growth in sectors well beyond technology. There is an abundance of solutions tied to big data in areas like retail, healthcare, finance, marketing and education. And yet, one report found that just 24% of executives say their companies are data-driven.
That’s a huge problem because I believe businesses with a data-driven culture will prove more resilient than those without this mindset and will be the ones that will be able to face future challenges.
Business Intelligence And Smarter Insights
Businesses generating data is hardly a revolutionary concept. For centuries, organizations have used data to inform their decisions and activities. But big data simply ramps up this decision-making. It stems from the idea that, thanks to technological innovations, we are generating enormous amounts of data every day. The concept involves taking that raw data and deriving insights from it. It encompasses analytics, operational strategy and interpretations.
In fact, digital transformation exists largely thanks to business intelligence, which governs big data strategies. The field has also given rise to professions like data analytics.
When businesses use data effectively, they can tap into new ways of improving their operations and activities—even extending to the consumer journey. Some ways I recommend you utilize big data include informing your next marketing campaign based on consumer preferences and enhancing fraud detection, but really, the use cases are endless.
Now, before big data became the phenomenon it is today, business intelligence did exist, but it was a fairly limited field. The earliest phase of big data primarily consisted of database management before evolving into a comprehensive system involving digital analytics that grew out of the advent of the internet. With the rise of digital technologies, data has transformed into a critical tool for every business and was developed alongside innovations like the IoT, AI, cloud computing and smartphones.
Targeted User Experiences Redefined
As a leader in business, you already know that the consumer experience propels business growth. Understanding your target audience’s behaviors and habits, along with their wants and needs, can help inform your business strategy.
A variety of digital tools—from the IoT to AI—are available to enable you to collect huge amounts of data and better understand how your users are responding to our products and services.
Of course, you can’t just sit on this abundance of information. Business intelligence professionals, including data analysts, can help us make sense of this vast pool of data and derive insights. It is critical to have trained professionals who can help you collect raw data from places like websites, smartphones, IoT devices and GPS devices in order to evaluate and identify trends. This is how you can transfer all the data into actionable material.
What does this look like in the real world? Consider, for example, the case of Netflix. The streaming giant had humble beginnings as a DVD distributor, but over the course of several years, it utilized its large reserves of data to take a complex approach to understand its users and making personalized recommendations. This has fueled enormous growth and made Netflix the top streaming service.
Or, look at Uber, which uses its abundance of user- and driver-generated data to anticipate supply and demand, match drivers and passengers and evaluate the quality of the trip.
I believe any organization, regardless of niche, can use these lessons, equipping itself with the latest technologies and performing a market analysis to pinpoint user demand and position itself to leverage data for meaningful growth.
Operational Insights And Changes
Big data is primed to fuel business growth in other ways, too. One area where it’s already making a difference is the vast landscape of internal operations.
In a time of redundancy and waste, we can evaluate the data we have to see how we can make operations more efficient. We are better equipped to dive deeper into the equipment we purchase, the habits of our employees, the materials we use and much more. Then, we can make decisions about everything from where we spend our money to the people we hire to how we mitigate risk.
Big Data Challenges
That’s not to say there aren’t challenges associated with big data. An overwhelming majority of organizations believe they need to improve the quality of their organizational data, and 77% say they don’t trust their own business data.
Meanwhile, A Dell survey found that 36% of IT decision-makers worry their IT infrastructure is not equipped to handle future data demands and will be overwhelmed.
And then there’s security. Without a solid security infrastructure and experts on your side, you could fall prey to data breaches and other threats to sensitive information, including both user and employee data. Numerous breaches in recent years have exposed how vulnerable access to big data makes us.
This is one reason why business leaders cannot rely on the information alone to propel their business strategies. The opportunity is there, but in order to reap the rewards, you must have a clear starting point and goals, a solid roadmap and the team members to make this plan a reality.
There are no quick paths to business growth, but big data is certainly one of the best paths forward—the tool that can help you achieve scalability and meet your larger objectives.