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Achieve success by using ‘big data’ Posted on October 9, 2018


Before getting caught up in the ‘big data revolution’, businesses must understand big data will not deliver valuable insights unless the organisation’s analytics are being managed properly.

Business analytics scrutinises data and delivers key business insights, presenting opportunities that could otherwise have been missed.

Businesses need to capture data to support and inform decision making and initiate business changes. There is currently too much focus being placed on the data itself, rather than the analytics and the insights that can be delivered.

As a result, businesses are gathering more and more data without really knowing what to do with it. Why is big data important for businesses? Big data is changing the way businesses work.

The way we interact with each other, both in the public and private sector, is increasingly digitised and data-driven. From banking to retail shopping and public sector services, there has been an explosion of online actions and transactions. Consumers also have more forums in which they can share opinions and views of services that are offered. More than 20% of Twitter content relates to products and brands and a quarter of all Google search results for the top 20 brands are not company produced.

From a consumer perspective, we expect organisations to understand us and to make recommendations based on past purchases and actions, our experience and our comments. This means we expect businesses to not just capture data but to analyse it.

Organisations can now capture data by monitoring these interactions. For example, if a customer buys dresses regularly online, a business can recognise this and modify its marketing strategy to ensure the latest dresses pop up on the customer’s screen. Businesses must recognise these kinds of opportunities so they can take advantage of them.

So what are the four ways for a company to ensure big data will deliver insights?

  1. Data needs to be readily available in a company’s warehouse, ready to be processed. It’s not as easy as you think for an organisation to have a warehouse full of data ready to be accessed. It’s similar to files in a computer  system. You know the information is there but you must be able to quickly access the file you need. A data warehouse must be well-managed and organised for employees to quickly access the kind of data they need. Data infrastructure technology can help achieve this.

  2. Data should be loaded quickly and efficiently to achieve results promptly. This will let results be analysed effectively enough to make good business directions in real time. For example, if a customer enters a bank, the teller will need their details instantly to access information such as past loans and investments to ensure they can accurately assist them. It’s vital for employees to be able to access data as soon as they need it.

  3. The business should take responsibility for the analytics process rather than leaving it to the IT team. IT is typically responsible for capturing the data, however, the decisions made as a result of analytics must be made by the business. For example, if a business is changing a product offering based on data analytics, product managers must be intimately engaged in the process.

  4. The business should leverage employees who have business analytics skills. Investing in employees who understand the value of data analytics is vital. There is a lot of noise at the moment about data science, which is an extension of business analysis. The so called ‘skills shortage’ in data science currently focuses on the lack of people able to use overly complex technology. This is the wrong perspective. Instead, organisations should ensure the technology is capable of processing data but is then able to be used by people who understand both the mathematical techniques and how the analysis will benefit the business. These people  exist in most major organisations and those that find, develop and retain them, will be the most successful.

Big data is a revolution for businesses and can achieve incredible results if the right information is used to make the best decisions. 

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