What is big data?
Big data simply refers to large amounts of data from a disparate variety of sources.
“Big data is big, fast-flowing, and often messy.”
It could include information such as customer transactions, consumer behaviour, health records, internet searches, inventories, road mapping, weather conditions, financial data – or thousands of other types of data .
Characteristic of “big data” is that it tends to be large in volume (often terabytes and petabytes in size), it tends to flow into the business at a high speed, and it is, in most cases, unstructured.
Unstructured data tends not to fit into the traditional relational (table/column) based structure in which data has commonly been stored in the past. Instead, it can include all kinds of documents, emails, images, video, and many other unrelated data formats, all of which can vary in size and format from record to record.
In recent years, software tools to manage and make sense of these disparate data sources have emerged.
By combining strategic goals with sophisticated software tools, companies can mine this data for useable insights that can transform their business. For example, big data analytics can reveal customer preferences, market trends, identify operational efficiencies, predict required production volumes, and so much more.
Companies are seizing the opportunity to use big data. Big data analytics is a growing sector – estimated to be worth $14.85bn annually and predicted to be worth $68bn in 2025[i]
By understanding the many streams of data that affect your organisation, you can quickly and effectively adapt your business to consumer needs.
Using Big Data In Marketing
In our highly connected world, consumers are inundated with ads and information about companies and organisations every day. But we can only pay attention to so much before it all becomes just white noise. So, how do organisations ensure that their brand gets customers’ attention?
According to Forbes, one answer is big data. They argue that:
‘Big data analytics offers a competitive advantage to the brands that are able to work faster and target their consumers more effectively.’
Here are some examples of how you can use big data to benefit your marketing campaigns:
- Creating focused and targeted advertising campaigns
- Identifying upsell and cross-sell opportunities
- Improving customer acquisition and retention
- Effective upselling
- Cost reduction
- Identifying new revenue streams
- Risk management
Big Data In Banking And The Financial Sector
Banking and the financial sector have long been at the forefront of developing new ways of exploiting the vast amounts of data they produce. Whilst they are developing new systems, they must retain older, legacy systems, which are too expensive to replace. The data produced by legacy systems must be integrated with newer systems seamlessly.
Banks are able to collect far more data on customers than ever before through use of apps, open banking systems and websites.
Financial services companies can use this data to analyse new fraud and security threats, manage risk, reduce operational costs, provide new services through open banking, work more closely with insurance companies, manage customer relationships more efficiently, identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities, accurately identify high-value customers, manage credit risk and (for businesses) liquidity and viability problems.
Big Data For Small And Medium-Sized Businesses
|At Jarmany, our experts can dive deep into your business and provide solutions that give you the insights you need to transform your business. We can help your spot opportunities and avoid pitfalls to give you a competitive edge.|
Small businesses may not generate as much data as Google or Amazon but will have data that can be used to benefit the business. In many ways, small businesses are ideally suited to using big data because they are often more agile and can respond quickly to data driven insights.
As well as internal systems such as sales logs, transaction histories, customer interactions via phone and email etc., data can also be fed into small businesses from social media, online reviews, online trend data such as Google Trends and many other online data sources.
Operational data may come from Internet-connected devices using sensors in the warehouse or factory. For example, pubs and bars are fitting sensors inside beer pumps, providing a data stream that can help reduce wasted beer, improve drinks quality, monitor stock levels and much more.
Data analysis can provide insights into how customers prefer to buy, why they adopt products and services (and why they abandon them).
How Big Data Can Benefit Charities
Big data isn’t only useful for businesses. Charities can use big data analytics to adapt their services to better meet the needs of their service users as well as reduce costs and improve recruitment and funding.
According to Charity Digital, in their article about Big Data Trends:
‘Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and other innovations will make big data more valuable than ever to charities in the coming months.’
Big data can help charities establish target donors by analysing the demographic data such as age and gender of service users as well as any other relevant user information.
|At Jarmany, we understand the specific needs of charities and have the expertise and tools to provide data analytics that can transform non-profits.|
Using big data analytics, non-profits can identify gaps in their provision and prevent vulnerable people from slipping through the net. In addition, charities can use donor data to target campaigns and improve donor loyalty.
Big data can give any business a competitive edge, but there is so much more to running a business in the 21st Century than just turnover and profit. The environmental impact of companies is becoming ever more important to customers as we experience the effects of climate change. Big data can help businesses improve their environmental credentials.
According to Nature Communications ‘The private sector is increasingly making influential environmental decisions and some large companies are committing to sustainability in their supply chains. Examples include ‘zero-deforestation’ and sustainably sourced palm oil pledges from Nestlé and McDonalds.’ These companies know that their environmental policies are important to their customers.
Businesses can use green data to improve their green credentials as well as to reduce energy use and carbon footprint. Analysing data about energy use, downtime and transportation costs can save money and help the planet.
How Can You Start Using Big Data?
Every business is different. However, all businesses will have a range of data available to them that they can use to improve their business. It’s just a matter of collecting and analysing that data so that it reveals the insights that you need.
At Jarmany, we can work with you to define what data you need and how to use it to benefit your business. We can provide you with the expertise and the tools to make sure you know your business inside and out. This will ensure you can adapt quickly in an ever-changing world.
We start with an audit to get a view of where you are at with your data. We also look at your board level KPIs, your market challenges and build a data strategy that will deliver insights for your business on every level.
If you would like more information on how you can transform your company to a data driven business capable of responding to changes in real time, contact us today.
Image credit: Starline | freepik.com