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Over the last couple of years Big data has revolutionized businesses in a much bigger way. It has started to make a marked difference in the way marketers think and take decisions. Marketers believe that Big data and analytics are the sure way of surging profits higher and capturing a larger share of the market. With the help of Big data technology they are able to get a 360-degree view of their customers. This is helping the marketers to build robust marketing plans and improve results.
Big data technology is revealing many unknowns to the marketers and hence most of the data friendly companies are seriously planning its implementation. Why not! It has not only enabled to get a full view of the customer insights to make better business strategies but companies can analyze the different set of data and predict results. With such visibility, predictability, and flexibility it is hard to ignore the impact of Big data in business. In fact with it’s implementation, many upheavals have happened and many businesses changed diametrically. There are numerous such examples in diverse industries.
How Big data can make a difference?
A few years back a top marketing executive of a large sized US retailer found the company’s market share being constantly lost to the competitor. One of their major competitors was steadily eating away the market share across a range of lucrative market segments. The company started to combat this with online promotions with improvements in merchandising but even then the competitor went on gaining share of the market. With this incident becoming a threatening issue, the company started delving deeper into it and discovered something far more startling than anything that they could have imagined. Their competitor has made huge investments in their ability to collect, collate, integrate and analyze the data from every sales unit and store. They had been using this data to conduct real world experiments.
Simultaneously, the competitor used the same data to adjust prices in real time. They also started reordering the hot selling items at the right time with the availability of right goods at the right location. What the retailer discovered was a game-changing phenomena that baffled their imagination. They found that their competitor has become a far more nimble organization by constantly analyzing and synthesizing data and circulating it throughout all sections of the organization. This is fairly the reason why the challenge of Big data cannot be ignored and it’s definitely a game changer in the industry.
Big data is not a temporary trend and it is here to stay for quite some time until it changes the way the world thinks, completely. The reason is it has a predictive element in, not only how the customers would behave but in all aspects of business including finance, Human Resources, operations and other realms as well. It is also making a mark in other areas like sports and entertainment to get more engagement.
The key role of data
History says that it’s not only the adoption of technology that made organizations surge their productivity and profitability higher. Rather, their ability to alter the management practices and adopt the change to maximize the potential was more crucial. Research has found out that few industries have an advantage in terms of market incentives to implement Big data and unleash its benefits. It is believed that the era of Big data can create a whole new way of managing things and a renascence of management principles. For organizations, capturing data is important but more important would be to use it diligently and optimize productivity.
Big data is certainly going to be a game changer as it could challenge the companies, using proprietary data, as information is now more readily available. In this aspect few of the industries have an advantage already and few others don’t. For example real estate industry does have information asymmetries like privileged access to buyer’s information and transactional data. It requires significant investment and efforts to get information like ask behavior of buyers and bid information. In recent times the real estate teams are bypassed by permitting the buyers to engage directly with the sellers. Not only real estate but cost and pricing data are now accessible across many industry verticals.
With the advancement of GPS technology, information like clues about competitors’ physical facilities are also available. These satellite details are becoming handy in gleaning insights about business constraints, expansion plans and a plethora of activities. Such loads of information often call for further investment in making them useful and sharing them with the right people at the right time. Thus in many cases these details are getting stuck in the departmental siloes such as engineering, operations or logistics. So the need of the hour is to create an infrastructure not only for data processing and sharing but to gear the whole organization with the speed of the data and the insights shared.
Confronting the challenges
The opportunities are many as Big data is slowly making its way in the business world but there are considerable number of challenges too. Talent acquisition is one of them. A study by Mckinsey estimated that the demand of Big data professionals could outstrip supply by 50% to 60%. It was estimated that by 2018 there would be a need of 140,000 to 190,000 additional Big data specialists. There would be an additional need of 1.5 million managers and analysts with a sharp understanding of the application aspect of Big data.
Along with education and training of the data personnel of companies, there are concerns about data privacy and accessibility at the same time. There would be a surge in the life style of people as prices could become lower with better design of products according to consumers’ needs. This would also call for new open spaces for data storage and emerging security issues as well. There will be a need of new devices to gather data. The IT architectures would be more external environment oriented posing greater risks of intellectual property and security. Talking about the human interface and customer centricity of organizations there would be a sea change in the whole gamut of functioning of organizations. Nevertheless, Big data is a revolutionary technology that has already started impacting and we have to observe the impending changes in business over time.