Big Data and Analytics
Big Data is Leading us to Better Business Practices
What is Big Data and Why Does it Matter?
Big Data refers to a large collection of structured, semi-structured or unstructured data that a business amasses. Knowing how to properly collect and sort through this massive amount of data may seem like a daunting task, but if done correctly, it quickly becomes an invaluable asset.
Why is this important?
What do some of the most successful companies like Apple, Google, and Walmart have in common? They use big data to analyze their processes and use those insights to better the way they operate. Every business has key performance indicators (KPI's), and by using big data best-practices, a business can determine whether they are making progress towards their goals, or moving further away from them. Imagine trying to improve a process or department without having any information on how it is currently running. It's pretty difficult to improve anything if you do not know what needs improving, right? Big data helps solve that problem by giving businesses concrete information on their employees, operations, customers, etc. so they can cut costs, increase profit, predict trends and overall increase the efficiency of their business and gain a competitive market advantage.
It Wasn’t Always This Way
Businesses didn't always have the resources to collect data like we do today. The Harvard Business Review published a recent article on big data analytics, and how recent technology has made it possible for organizations to "acquire massive amounts of computing power for short periods at a low cost.” The amount of computing power a company had used to be dependent on their storage servers, which were expensive to purchase and maintain. If a company wanted more computing power to run analytics on, they would have to go out and purchase more hardware. Companies like Snowflake, however, are making it easier now for businesses of all sizes to have easy access to their data, infinite warehouse scalability, and provide rapid, almost real-time analytics.
So long gone are the days where only software engineers, mathematicians, and data scientists cared about collecting and understand big data capabilities. All businesses, including small businesses and startups, have some idea how to use and translate their data to improve their decision-making skills and help position them to succeed in an extremely competitive market.
Business Intelligence and Analytics Influences Better Decision-Making
Since the rise of big data, we now have a massive expansion of business intelligence (BI) and business analytics tools that help take the guesswork out of interpreting your data. Theoretically, the more data you are ingesting as a company, the larger your IT department should be to help maintain the quantity of data. But tools like Looker and Microsoft Power BI makes it easy for employees to analyze, interpret and deliver reports based on the data they are responsible for. So now companies have the freedom to give individual departments access to the data they may want to see. For example, a marketing department would want to see the purchasing trends of their customers to better predict where to place future advertisements.
This is Just the Beginning
Yes, big data has allowed for companies to accomplish amazing things over the last decade, but this is only the beginning. As more businesses embrace big data, the more we learn about its potential uses and capabilities. And the more we learn, the better we get at not only improving our processes internally but also the way we interact and engage with our customers to bring them more value and better services and products.
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