The term Big Data is more than just jargon: in fact, one of the most commonly heard buzzwords in business today is ‘Big Data’.
Big Data is relevant across almost all verticals in any industry you can think of, from banking and finance, healthcare and education to manufacturing and government.
Big Data can bring us brilliant insights from the ever-increasing volume of data we create. And, importantly, it’s as relevant for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as it is for giant conglomerates.
What is Big Data and why does it matter?
Big Data is the term we give to the large amounts of digital information collected by businesses which is then analysed using specialised tools to uncover patterns, trends and insights within a business, industry or marketplace. This information can then be used to help an organisation be more strategic and ultimately run itself more efficiently.
There is certainly a potential here for your organisation. For example, the ability to run different scenarios of your business plan and see the various outcomes of your choices will help you see problems before they arise, discover new business opportunities and ultimately plan more targeted strategies. Seeing new connections will give you a fresh perspective on your processes and being able to analyse situations in ‘real time’ means you can use your available resources more efficiently.
Big Data can help us make more intuitive and well-informed business decisions by:
- Helping us predict what will most likely happen in future
- Discovering surprising connections
- Monitoring situations as they change
- Highlighting the consequences of an action or choice
Our growing digital footprint
Ninety percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. One of the effects of the digital revolution is that we now create and collect data from a huge and constantly growing number of sources: social media posts and interactions, digital photos and videos, retail transaction records, GPS mapping, internet searches, mobile phone use, etc. We can access and create content faster than ever through multiple mediums, leaving a trail of data along the way that can be treated, analysed, and used to find out things about our customers and our businesses.
The engine behind Big Data
The transformation of regular data into Big Data is down to advancements in technology. The software, apps and tools at our disposal that enable us to analyse such volumes of valuable information have resulted in a revolution in business insights, decisions and strategy. So, you might say that Big Data is only as ‘big’ as the data analytics solution that’s behind it. By using the data that they generate and feeding them through data analytics tools, companies can begin to understand their own business better, and make decisions to boost efficiency and cut waste.
Let’s look at how the concept of Big Data could be deployed and capitalised on in a couple of different industries:
Manufacturing and supply chain management
Big Data and advanced analytics can give businesses an important overview into how best to arrange for the actual distribution of their goods or services to increase yields and reduce costs. The right data will also indicate the best channels to use. The scale and depth of data that supply chains are generating is constantly getting faster which in turn generates massive data sets that can then drive the right kind of contextual intelligence, providing businesses in the industry information to make better decisions.
Knowing precisely how resources are being used can save a project from going over budget. Big Data provides innovations like predictive modelling, allowing organisations to estimate costs better and avoid waste.
The ability to monitor financial market activity with network analytics and natural language processors can highlight potential illegal trading. Also, enterprise credit risk can be reported, potential card fraud detected, etc.
Thank you to Amshire for their contribution to this article