MAKING IT BIG WITH BIG DATA: A TOOL FOR GAINING A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

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The 21st century is pacing ahead in leaps and bounds thanks to rapid advancements in technology. Firms often adapt to the changing times and adopt new technologies to gain a competitive edge over their rivals. “Survival of the Adaptable” is the mantra in todays’ world. In such a scenario, the advent of Big Data Analytics has changed the dynamics of modern business.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, Narendra Modi’s campaign involved use of Big Data analytics. For instance, if someone visited his party’s website, the latter would automatically install cookies in the end user’s computer to gain information regarding his or her further internet activity. Depending on the acquired data, customized advertisements would pop up promoting the party leader .

Similarly, Etihad Airways uses Big Data technology via hundreds of sensors installed in the plane with a view to reduce fuel costs and spot any problems before they occur.

SO WHAT EXACTLY IS BIG DATA?

Big data refers to the collection, organizing and analysing large pools of complex data with a view to analyse and understand patterns and take appropriate actions. It facilitates a firm to study vast amounts of real time information to bring accuracy in decision making. This is a novel concept which is far away from the age old use of traditional methods for data mining. Traditional methods resorted to usage of RDBMS (Relational Database Management Systems) to store data which was structured in nature. But it was found to be inaccurate since more than 2/3rd of the existing data is unstructured. Thus Big data is considered to be a game changer for a firm to gain an upper hand in the race since it provides a 360 degree view of the enterprise. Such a broad view will help the enterprise to conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and gather essential data out of the vast ocean of information made available.

Big data for v's analysis

Today, volumes of data are being created across the globe. This is being done every time one browses the internet, uses debit/ credit cards etc. Hortonworks CEO, Rob Bearden, in his keynote address at the Hadoop Summit stated that the data volume is going to grow 50 times per year between 2014 to 2020[3]. IBM research reveals that more than 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone[4]. As a result, there exists a plethora of opportunities for emerging and established businesses to make use of Big Data Analytics and extract vital information to improvise the decision making process.

SIGNIFICANCE

  1. SMART SELLING

With the abundance of information being freely available, the business firm can tap into this opportunity by catering to the individual consumer needs. Customers have various preferences while looking for a product or service. Such information can be made known to the company via Big Data, which in turn enables the enterprise to provide tailor made products and services to the end users.

 

  1. FRAUD DETECTION

Frauds are crimes of serious nature which tend to cause monetary and reputational loss to the enterprise. Such events can severely impact the enterprise’s standing in the industry. Big Data Analytics process vast amounts of structured and unstructured data and help the management in drawing patterns in the nature of frauds and customer behaviour. On the basis of such results, the enterprise’s thinktank can devise steps accordingly.

 

  1. IMPROVES DECISION MAKING

A study conducted by MIT’s Sloan School of Business states that companies which take decisions based on data – driven strategies increase their output and productivity by 5% to 6%[5]. Proper use of such kind of analytics can substantially improve the nature of decision-making, minimise risks, and unearth valuable insights that would otherwise remain undisclosed.

 

  1. DIGITAL STORAGE OF ALL ENTERPRISES’ DATA

The data collected from internal and external sources is pooled together by the enterprise and stored in a digital format which keeps its contents original. Thus exposures to variations are avoided thereby resulting in accuracy in decision making.

 

  1. TRANSPARENCY IN INFORMATION

Although Big Data allows the enterprise to capture a comparatively larger chunk of data, the fact is that majority of the information is yet to be digitally stored e.g. data written on paper, or communication through oral means etc. A report by Forbes implies that at the moment less than 0.5% of all data is ever analysed [6]. Big data can help in converting this data into a virtual one and give the enterprise access to key information.

 

  1. CAPTURING NICHE MARKETS

Niche market consumers are deprived of satisfaction thanks to a wide gap between their demands and product features. Big Data analytics assists the enterprise in bridging this gap by supplying vital information regarding the personalized preferences of such narrow market segments.

 

  1. FUTURISTIC PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

The knowledge of Big Data is so gigantic that it may lead to creation of an altogether new data analysing industry. Leaders with a futuristic vision adopt the approach of Big Data since they believe in its potential to generate huge volumes of turnover in the succeeding years. Constant innovations in manufacturing can lead to an emergence of next generation products and services.  For instance, manufacturers are using data obtained from sensors embedded in products to create innovative after-sales service offerings such as proactive maintenance.

SIGNIFICANCE FOR A DIGITAL MARKETING FIRM

One of the major challenges for any digital marketing is to determine which keywords to target with a view to create an optimum SEO strategy.  Search results, backlink data, and keyword data are critical factors which are essential for meeting the expectations of clients. Using Google Big Data analytics, the firm can get access to a wide range of keywords and pages through which it can pinpoint those crucial points who are capable of being in sync with the client’s SEO strategy.

Data had to be gathered from different channels, analyzed and then combined together to constitute a part of the digital marketing firm’s data model. Big data analytics aids the firm in providing larger datasets for applying statistical methods to draw useful inferences. It also allows for finding and confirming the patterns in the data.

For instance, ClicknJoin analyzes the results obtained by processing Big Data and giving out critical outcomes. The user information put forth by your firm will enable you, our dear client, to frame innovative strategies to make available the necessary products and services to your customers.

Using an advanced SEO strategy upgraded by Big Data analytics, we analyse the entire keyword landscape and look at all the important metrics to make sure your SEO strategy is the finest of all. It will make sure that your years of hard work and efforts don’t go in vain.

 

 

POSSIBLE CHALLENGES

  1. INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL DATA

There is a tremendous amount of data which is generated within the enterprise. From the production and supply chain information, to the sales data, the volume is huge. In addition to this, value creation calls for analysis of data from external sources, such as traffic or climate or the rival entity’s data. Such kinds of external data help the firm to determine the exact needs of consumers, what price they are likely to pay for their products etc. Tapping and studying such data is a real challenge.

 

  1. MATH INTENSIVE EXERCISE

Data mining is a pure mathematical and analytical modelling exercise. Getting the right people with the right skills to generate right algorithms and the right patterns of information is a tedious task. The 2012 Edition of Harvard Business Review had termed Data Scientist as the sexiest job of the 21st Century [7]. But currently there is a dearth of data scientists. Although they are highly qualified, they are prone to human errors which tend to make the data insights inaccurate.

 

  1. IMPLEMENTING DATA INSIGHTS

If the data scientists derive accurate results but there isn’t any action taken on the basis of these results, the whole process will go in vain. There have been cases where the companies go on compiling data and taking no measures to enact the results. For instance, novel inferences in the working methods can result in stiff resistance from managers.

 

swot analysis in short

CONCLUSION

Desired results can only be achieved only if the entire process is optimized to generate efficiency in the functioning of the enterprise. In the case of I.T. (Information Technology), we had focused on the ‘Technology’ part. It is high time we change our priorities to work upon the ‘Information’ part.

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