What is It, and Is It Good For Me?
“Big Data” is shorthand for “big data”. It is the buzzword du jour among IT professionals and those interested in technological innovation. Big data is a phrase that describes an approach to analytics, generally, to extract data from, or in a process of automatically dealing with extremely large or otherwise complicated data sets which are simply beyond the range of traditional data processing application software. The buzz began in late 2021, with the release of a popular book, Hands off Enterprise: The Smart Business of Information Technology.
One of the primary authors of that book, Nile Kaper, defined big data as “…a powerful tool to help companies manage and process increasing amounts of data quickly and efficiently.” The book discusses various applications for big data analytics and the importance of data security and compliance. In a nutshell, big data helps companies analyze previously-collected and processed data to determine business priorities and then make informed decisions about how to best utilize that data to improve customer service, product development, marketing, and staff management. Kaper and his co-authors suggest that big data analytics can replace traditional business intelligence (BI) software and can be easily incorporated into existing software without requiring a new purchase. They further suggest that big data analytics can greatly improve corporate management and customer service departments through a variety of methods including:
* Extracting and Managing Customer Data: Traditional data analysis software applications require the user to manually collect and maintain customer information. By comparison, big data analytics software applications can quickly and easily identify the various categories of customer information and group them based on common business areas such as customer needs and purchasing preferences, or geography and industry. Also, by grouping customers into groups, the software can determine whether each category represents a large, diverse market segment. This enables the software to provide relevant and useful information for segmentation. For example, by grouping consumers into grouped categories, it would be easy to determine what demographic would best benefit a certain product.
* Retrieving De-identified Data: Traditional software applications retrieve information based on the IP address, browser, and other profile information of the computer user. However, because of the massive volume of internet data floating around, de-identification has become increasingly difficult. Also, because many internet users browse sites online from work or play, it has become increasingly important to ensure that information is kept confidential. Big data analytics applications take care of this by enabling businesses to quickly and easily gather, sort, and analyze big data in order to provide appropriate insight into how their customers are using their technology and what they want to do with it. In addition, big data allows businesses to target their advertising more effectively.
* Improving Customer Service: As more consumers become accustomed to online shopping and use social media to make purchases, questions about what is it, and is it good for me? are likely to remain a major concern. Big data analytics software applications have the ability to take customer demographic, geographic, and other information and deliver insights tailored to each individual business. This enables a business to not only discover new trends but also to respond to those trends in an appropriate manner.
* Better Productivity: By collecting big data analytics, businesses can identify where productivity improvements can be made. By using advanced analytics software, a business can improve its overall efficiency. It is much easier to create processes that support the flow of information. For example, a healthcare company might find that the creation of a workflow that simultaneously identifies the patient’s case history, demographic data, medications, lab test results, and physician’s notes creates greater opportunities for faster and more efficient care giving.
* Marketing Research: By collecting and analyzing big data, it becomes possible to conduct sophisticated research. This type of market research traditionally required conducting interviews, surveys, and other traditional market research methods. The advent of sophisticated big data software applications has resulted in the measurement of characteristics associated with customers in-depth, as well as the identification of behaviors associated with products and services. This information allows marketers to target the appropriate audience and create specific campaigns. Marketers no longer must resort to expensive and tedious out of market or specialty marketing strategies.
Of course, not every business is able to make the investment in big data technologies. However, for businesses that can afford to implement the technology, the benefits can prove to be highly beneficial. By offering accurate, engaging content that pulls from large and complex databases, Marketers and companies will be able to provide content that truly engages customers and creates a higher Return On Investment (ROI). By helping to quantify and measure important content and determining what is popular, and what isn’t, Marketers can help clients generate content that truly increases business value and drive up customer satisfaction.