Big Data: What Else is New?
Big Data has been around for years, but the concept of executing sustained, accurate, real-time analysis of that data has remained a challenge.
But that’s all changing. Because of the sheer amount of uncaptured data that currently exists, and the value that data holds, technological innovation - including automation technologies – has made real time analytics a reality. Data capture is now more streamlined and precise, and a proliferation of firms and services are available to help businesses leverage that data, propelled by business demand. From a cost perspective, companies don’t necessarily need to make large capital investments or build complicated infrastructure. Big data storage and mining capabilities are more accessible, at a lower risk profile and at a smaller investment today. The barriers to entry are much lower than ever before.
Is Real-Time Analytics Right for Your Organization?
The industries in which data can enable actionable insights are where real-time analytics hold the most promise. A great example is the consumer packaged goods industry, where data analytics can inform strategies in manufacturing, quality and distribution of products. It’s in those areas where a brand is really able to capture data and identify improvement — and innovate.
The reason real-time data analytics has been primarily used in B2C industries is because the data offers instant, direct feedback. I like to think of it as real time focus group delivering deep consumer insights. Brands are able to very quickly obtain consumer preferences at a large scale and then pair that data with other information to drive business decisions and action.
Industry type isn’t the only driver of real-time analytics adoption. You also need the right team in place. The ideal team is cross-functional, consisting of individuals who have a good grip on technology and the operations of a business — those who have the ability to grasp the value of incoming data and understand what has an impact on the business and its processes, several layers deep. Take, for example, data on consumer interactions. Those who receive the most value of the data are not only the directors or teams involved in customer engagement, but also quality and digital marketing, among other departments. The best teams will see the data with a lens of who is consuming it.
What’s On Deck?
In the next 5 years, there will be huge strides in managing and storing data. The role of automation and artificial intelligence can only expand. We’ll begin to see a greater demand for prescriptive or predictive analytics. Many of the manual tasks and day-to-day decision making being done today will be enhanced or replaced by analytics. Data will continue to take a more prominent role in companies, with roles such as Chief Data Officer becoming more mainstream.