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As AI, deep learning and IoT gain credence as the latest buzzwords, so is the pervasiveness of big data. Why? These emerging technologies are further accelerating data creation, forcing businesses to develop new big data tools and analytical methods to drive actionable insights. Unsurprisingly, IDC puts the worldwide revenue for big data and business analytics at $203 billion, by 2020.
From retail to healthcare, here are six ways in which companies are using the technology to power their businesses and gain competitive advantage.
1. Identify new areas of innovation: The powerful features of data mining, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are helping companies better understand customer behaviour and preferences. This helps businesses identify new areas of innovation that enable them to cater to specific needs. Take for instance Amazon. To gather data on customers’ buying behaviour, it installed cameras along with sensors on its Amazon Go store shelves. The decision was taken on the premise that apart from the online activities of consumers, a huge volume of data is generated in the real world.
2. Increase speed to market: Advanced features of big data help businesses identify any existing operational loophole and area of efficiency in development lifecycle. The technology’s predictive capabilities forecast problem areas before they occur – enhancing efficiency and time to market. In addition, by combining AI with big data, businesses can offer tailored offerings to customers. Vodafone Netherlands collates customer data from their social media and other online activities and uses the insights to offer more relevant services to customers in real-time.
3. Launch new products or services: Big data is critical to comprehending unidentified needs of customers. To be able to develop customer centric products or services, firms need to constantly interact with the customers, and motivate them to share their ideas early in the product/service development cycle. Electronics company - STE, uses big data to connect with its customers during its new product development process, leading to product success.
4. Establish data-driven culture: Data-driven technology can go a long way in bringing about a productive culture in organizations. While right hiring, training and technology can help nurture a data-driven culture; the most profound push usually comes from the leadership. By using data while making decisions or communicating, leaders can help create a data-oriented culture. Google once tested 41 different shades of blue for its advertising links, an exercise that increased its ad revenue by $200 million.
5. Lower costs: Rising cost is what concerns businesses the most. In an industry like oil and gas, companies face a financial impact of up to $49 million annually as a result of unplanned downtime. Big data and analytics can reduce capital expenditure in this sector by about 20%. By fitting sensors in the equipment used by oil and gas operators, they can collect and analyse data and forecast any unforeseen situation. What’s more, maintenance cost comes down while reliability increases.
6. Future-proof business: Big data is indispensable to collating insights critical to maintaining and powering business growth. Management can extrapolate an intuitive big picture of where the organization is headed, enabling easy decision-making. Industry research shows that by 2020, about 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, driving explosive data generation. Leaders will be able to identify past trends, vulnerabilities, risks in an organization’s workflow and even industry transformation through predictive analytics to better position their firms for success.
By making quality data collection the main focus of any digital solution implementation strategy, businesses can ensure that activities such as analytics or forecasting provide meaningful insights. Deep technologies, such as data sciences, are a vast discipline. It is difficult for one company to have all the skills under its roof. Therefore, it will be important for businesses to collaborate and ‘colearn’ with the larger knowledge ecosystem by ensuring adequate training and development.