September 9, 2017

How Businesses Across Industries Are Making Big Data Digestible

Big data is intimidating.

Quality data, on the other hand, can and should be a core decision factor in everything connected to your business.

Data-based decision making, in fact, is starting to be a unifying factor among small and medium-sized businesses looking to survive and thrive in competitive environments.

You might have heard about big data, the idea that the rise of digital technology has overwhelmed businesses with so many data points that they can be difficult to analyze. What should be an opportunity quickly becomes a problem, as your decision makers drown in analytics without the ability to differentiate and evaluate.

Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Increasingly, thanks to new technologies and a better grasp of the depth of big data, businesses of all sizes are beginning to use it more effectively to their advantage.

The Increased Usability of Big Data

A recent survey by the Harvard Business Review returned a promising result: in 2017, 80 percent of businesses deem their big data and analytics investments to be successful. Used correctly, decision makers across industries state that it can decrease expenses, suggest new innovation technologies, helps in launching new products, and creates more revenue.

In other words, as HBR points out:

Big data is already being used to improve operational efficiency, and the ability to make informed decisions based on the very latest up-to-the-moment information is rapidly becoming the mainstream norm… About half of the executives (…) predict major disruption on the horizon, as big data continues to change how businesses operate and compete. Companies that fail to adapt do so at their own competitive and market risk.

The same survey also saw a shift in the challenges facing big data adoption. Technologies that include the plethora of options to optimize data collection and analytics software are no longer the problem. Now, the biggest challenge is cultural, as companies run into road blocks looking to change their culture toward more data-based decision making.

For businesses across industries, that shift is excellent news. The fact that the challenges are now qualitative means that implementation of a data-based strategy is no longer impeded by structural hurdles. Big data may still be intimidating, but a clear road map to success has been drawn.

New Technologies that Build Big Data Capabilities

When looking at companies’ priorities in data analytics, this shift can be seen in action. VentureBeat outlined five ways in which companies of all sizes are starting to utilize data analytics to their advantage:

  1. Predictive analytics, allowing your business to better understand what your customers need before they have to ask for it.
  2. Getting customers excited about their own data that can be relevant to their relationship with your company.
  3. Improving customer service efforts by providing quicker, more proactive, and more relevant assistance for any issues that inevitably come up.
  4. Identifying customer pain points through better audience analysis, allowing you to address underlying issues through core value propositions.
  5. In the healthcare industry, saving people’s lives through improved treatments.

All of these points, of course, necessitates new technologies that actually build your capabilities in achieving the related goals. Fortunately, these technologies are increasingly available even for small budgets.

Predictive analytics software, for example, depends on machine learning algorithms. A number of offerings, including from Microsoft, can help businesses better understand their customers without breaking the bank. Similarly, audience and competitive analysis tools give your business a better overview of both the environment and your potential customers.

Meanwhile, it’s difficult to overstate the effective of Customer Relationship Management software in the collection, analysis, and usability of big data. Perhaps the best example of that is point #3 in the list above.

Better customer service can only be possible if you have an efficient means of data collection that can be easily accessed by anyone in the organization who might touch base with a customer at some point before, during, or after the initial sale. A CRM allows you to provide that means, offering a central spot for your customer data that inherently improves its usability for your business.

Is Your Business Prepared to Embrace Big Data?

Combine the above points, and one thing stands out above all: regardless of your industry of the size of your business, big data is becoming increasingly accessible and usable. The idea of collecting significant chunks of data might still be intimidating. But at the same time, the variety of technologies now available to help you digest that data add new value to the concept as a whole.

The challenge then, as McKinsey points out, is becoming cultural. An emphasis on big data requires your company to move from a knowing organization to a learning organization, where employees at all levels embrace the idea of new insights that can challenge the status quo and improve its business practices. Only this shift can be responsible for taking the intimidation factor out of data collection and analysis, and focusing on its benefits instead.

The good news is that the tools to make it happen are now readily available. You might just have to work with a company that helps you implement them, allowing you to fully take advantage of the concept throughout your organization. To learn how we can help you accomplish that, contact us. We’d love to talk to you about the various tools that can help you improve your business over time, and better embrace big data as a driver of that success.