Can you afford to ignore it?
Introduction: What is Big Data?
Big Data as “an accumulation of data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools.” Big Data can be anything from numbers to text to voice and video data to photographs. And there’s more of it than can be humanly processed.
You need to know this: The number of companies deploying Big Data will double in the near future, exceeding the implementation rate of other “hot” technologies such as data visualization and process automation.
Here’s what we cover in this blog post:
- Why do you need to know about this trend?
- What do you need to know about it?
- Is your company big enough to use Big Data?
- What do you need to use Big Data effectively?
- Is it worth it?
1. Why do you need to know about this trend?
At the top level, your competitors are either using it now or will be very soon. You need to know about it to stay even—and you definitely need to know about it to get ahead.
Everyone is trying to get faster and better at responding to the marketplace, the business climate, and at the same time, remaining efficient and profitable. Our sources indicate the largest percentage of companies today (over 50%) use the data from both internal sources (e.g., your customers’ names, addresses, and buying history) and external sources (e.g., purchased lists) to support strategy development and execution.
In the beginning of their plunge into the Big Data pool, people dip their toes in by using simple implementations with structured internal data before adding and defining external and unstructured data sources.
Note: Smaller companies are often better at using Big Data because they can pivot and react more quickly than their ‘big brother’ competitors.
2.What do you need to know about it?
Big Data is a boon to decision-makers IF they can capture it effectively and channel it through the accounting and finance departments to budget or alter cash flow to the right places at the right time.
Big Data is accumulated continuously by ubiquitous computers almost everywhere on earth. For customers, companies can know at the very minimum:
- What their customer buys
- How much they pay
- Where they buy it
- Why they purchased it
- If they returned it and why
These pieces of information help the marketing staff, production, and sales and distribution teams target their efforts to increase sales and reduce costs. Purchasing and manufacturing know what to buy and how many widgets to make. Customer service can be staffed to the appropriate levels. Every other aspect of the business can be sliced and diced through Big Data analytics.
For smaller companies , even a modest-sized data analytics team can drive profits up by being more responsive to the marketplace than their clumsier competitors with bigger ships to steer around the icebergs of commerce. But how big do you have to be to use Big Data?
3. Is your company big enough to use Big Data?
With enough resources to analyze the data and make decisions from it, any company is big enough to address the Big Data opportunity.
Big Data projects are taking place in businesses of all sizes. Surprisingly, small companies—with fewer than 500 employees—are slightly more likely than larger businesses to report having implemented Big Data initiatives completely. Bigger organizations have more extensive data sets and more ungainly, complex projects to surround.
Even so, without someone with the ability to query and make sound recommendations to management, inexperienced companies (regardless of their size) should do some preparations before incorporating Big Data systems into their financial and strategic decision-making. See the next section for what is needed to be Big Data ready.
4. What do you need to use Big Data effectively?
The four bullet points below may want to be addressed simultaneously. Having quality data without someone to analyze it will be a waste of money to accumulate and clean the data.
The following list is a “dream” list, but the process can be started by addressing these ideals and making a budget and decision to handle them.
- Quality data – Bad data can lead to absolutely wrong decisions. GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out.) Gathering good data is ‘Job One’ for many companies.
- State-of-the-art tools – Big Data requires an investment in better everything. We will talk about tech spending in an upcoming blog post.
- A supportive organizational culture – Some of the futuristic initiatives required to embrace the Big Data decision-making will be stressful at the very least.
- Everyone needs to be on their best behavior and keep the company’s mission and vision in mind at all times.
5. Is it worth it?
To remain competitive, companies need to surrender to the idea that they must do everything they can to make quick, correct decisions and if not correct, to back pedal and then keep going. Big Data is the ticket.
Tech-savvy companies of all sizes will see Big Data as one of the ways to help their organizations make better decisions, experience quicker failures, and enjoy exciting pivots out of the crash site.
We think it is worth taking on the Big Data challenge.
There was a time not too long ago when business people didn’t use computers to make decisions. Paper transactions, fingers, calculators, pencils, and pens were the last hundred years’ computers. The first handheld Texas Instruments calculator was a ‘modern miracle’ about 50 years ago.
Fast forward to 2020.
In using Big Data today, the gold-standard ideal is to be able to use state-of-the-art computers to capture the data that are used to read trends, anticipate the future, and make decisions based on the analysis by properly trained data scientists. The tricky part is embracing the culture-shock brought about by technology and then overlaying good old-fashioned business savvy to attain and keep a competitive edge.
Companies that aren’t big yet can make their growth plans using Big Data to scale their businesses.
Remember, every big company was once a small one. We’re here to help. Contact us.