What is Big Data?
There are several definitions of big data; one version being that it is a collection of data so large and complicated that it becomes difficult to process with traditional applications. Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article on how big data is changing the business equation. As technology evolves, more information is becoming available from a variety of sources. The best part is this information can be utilized almost immediately after it is produced.
Business Benefits of Big Data
Being able to access data from anywhere at any time helps businesses in many industries to improve marketing, advance products, cut costs, gauge interest and keep customers coming back.
Automotive & Engineering: Consider an automotive company with a fleet of Plug-In-Hybrid trucks in multiple countries all over the world. Via modules on these vehicles, complex data can be generated about each vehicle in seconds. With the high speed capabilities of big data, those in the automotive and engineering industry can understand the full vehicle lifecycle including maintenance, fuel, telematics, and even driver behavior. Sharing this information with customers, partners and vendors can help companies in this industry make better business decisions.
Healthcare & Hospitals: Though healthcare has traditionally been offered by one doctor for one patient at a time, big data could positively change the healthcare landscape. Perhaps most obvious, big data allows physicians to have access to much more medical information which could lead to better diagnoses, faster diagnoses, and more personalized care. Furthermore, patients will have access to much more information and have the ability to be more informed about their health.
Gaming: The term gaming encompasses a large variety of activities. Let’s consider gaming in casinos. While casinos have customers that come just for gaming, other customers come to watch, to eat, or to shop. One casino in Las Vegas used big data to understand customer spending patterns and preferences of both gamers and non-gamers using customer tracking and loyalty systems. This allowed for the organization to adjust customer service for the unique customer base and to drive profits while saving money.
Digital Marketing & Social Media: Social media has taken the traditional forms of marketing by storm. Though it has exploded in popularity, social media marketing was not introduced with a manual; Marketing teams know they need it, but how do they know it is successful? Big data can help companies understand these efforts. For example, Netflix uses big data to analyze results of the viewing, rating and other activities of their 27 million U.S. subscribers! According to Dr. Cheemin Bo-Linn, president of Peritus Partners, Netflix understands the content their target market will best respond to and uses this strategy to get more views.
Human Resources: Every one of the industries mentioned above can also use big data to make hiring decisions. According to an article in Forbes, big data helps HR departments both spot talent and retain talent. For example, big data can help companies see how people answer questions, how long they spend answering certain questions, and to which questions they return to check their answers.
Big Data Business Challenges
Perhaps the biggest challenge with implementing big data is getting started. History tells us that in business, opinions are based on HIPPO where the highest-paid person’s opinion matters most. Whether this is true or not in your organization, it is crucial to have every team and every individual on board. The next step is being SMART. Executives often rely on experience to strategize, assess risk and ultimately make decisions. But in the world of big data where the answer to your clients’ needs can be clearly analyzed, it is too costly to rely on gut feelings alone. Customers are seen as unique individuals now, not broad segments of populations. Beth Axelrod, Senior VP of HR for eBay Inc., says, “There’s a lot of value to be created and added through data analytics. The effort is worth it because it’s a tremendous way to have an impact on the performance of a business.”
If you are interested in learning more about how Incite Informatics can use big data to help solve your business problems, please contact us here.