Big data is generating big buzz—and even bigger benefits—in today’s business world. With such recent hype surrounding big data, it seems like only a matter of time before everyone will be on board.
So what exactly is big data? Simply put, big data refers to mass amounts of data—including complex, unstructured and semi-structured data—that has historically been too complex to accurately and efficiently interpret. While it’s difficult to put a number on what quantifies big data, the term generally refers to figures around petabytes and exabytes. Big data contains vast amounts of data sources gathered from a given company, its customers, its channel partners and suppliers, and external data sources. Customer data, for instance, includes data on social media activities, click patterns, and location, while external data sources provide information such as demographics.
The potential for this data to meaningfully interact is key in order to deduct patterns and generate beneficial results. In order to better understand the concept of big data, it’s helpful to think of the “big” factor more in terms of complexity rather than volume.
So why all the sudden rage about big data? Until recently, it has been impossible to harness the implications—let alone the benefits—of big data. Recent technological advancements, however, open new doors and encourage businesses to turn big data into big profits. New algorithms coupled with groundbreaking, more complex, and more accurate statistical models help turn what used to be incomprehensible data into gold through big data analytics. Such advances allow businesses to generate more personalized and accurate information to better profile consumers. This, in turn, offers a tremendous edge for businesses to retain customers through more holistic marketing techniques.
In a highly competitive world where personalization is not just crucial—but also expected—it is imperative for businesses to gather customer data from across all spectrums. Moreover, the ability to deduce patterns to accurately interpret, analyze, and act upon that data is essential; especially with constant shifts in customers’ wants and needs.
Implemented properly, the question is not if big data analytics will benefit your business, but rather how much. Big names including Sears and IBM are already efficiently utilizing big data. By investing mass amounts of money into private research—a luxury most businesses cannot afford—these companies have found ways to capture, analyze, and report upon vast quantities of complex data. Through this, customer behaviors’ become company profits.
Properly and timely interpreted big data provides businesses with the insights to make the magic happen. The big data revolution–happening now–offers the opportune time to adopt big data analytics and reap the resulting big benefits.