When companies target to stabilize their growth engine to reach the next level in business and increase the revenue, most of them make decisions with the data about prevailing market conditions from third-party vendors, which might turn their fortunes upside down. The problem is persistent in many industries and the companies have been fighting hard to win the race with the right data set. There are only a few companies that use Big Data sourced from their own operations and make decisions based on that data for laying out the future course of the company.
It has been estimated that companies that are data-driven are five percent more productive and six percent more profitable than other companies. So the question remains, how to use Big Data in making business decisions, especially for CIO’s, because their role in implementing IT-based solutions in a business is invaluable.
It has been time and again noted by the “Big Four” that CIOs who have taken an active lead to use Big Data exemplify a unique liberty to transform their businesses, and to make their roles more strategic and more influential than ever before. There is a debate wherein we have questions that if a CIO or anyone in an analytics specific role like Chief Analytics Officer or Chief Data Officer should lead a big data initiative or not, and the debate is getting more stale day to day because the key to lead Big Data initiative is to being innovative with the moving parts of the business. Most CIOs have settled in with an operational mindset and Big Data is giving them the answers to everything they are looking for. If we are having a CAO or CDO to chip in and lead big data initiatives, it would become another stale part of the company as they don’t have the liberty to fine tune the moving parts of the company like a CIO does.
But there are further problems to address before we get onto ‘Why, When, How,’ Of using Big Data. There was a time in the past when we couldn’t aggregate Big Data, It was too expensive. But times have changed now, storage has become cheaper and cloud has enabled us to collect Big Data. What can we do with Big Data? There are companies that already have Big Data but they stand disappointed as it’s not creating value. The first essential step is to find the correlation in the data through Machine Learning, then only we can begin with predictive analytics.
Internet of Things(IoT) has been fueling the growth in the industrial sector which is on the hunt for more data. For the industrial sector, it is a completely different ball game as they can’t connect everything to the cloud due to security reasons, a lot of correlation would be eventually done on the cloud but some of that data is going to be processed on the edge. Only a Data Scientist with a very good domain expertise of the industry can help optimise Big Data for Machine Learning. Else, we won’t get an optimum result.
This architecture where CIOs are able to get maximum value out of Big Data is very much essential and can only be achieved if we integrate every moving part of the business with data. Data which can be stored, processed and correlated to solve problems and find solutions.
When a business is trying to respond to the customer that expects much more rapid change, IT must respond to that change. We can see a rapid change where companies are investing more on Cloud Computing, Big Data & Analytics rather that legacy desktops and server applications. CIOs are the driving force behind this shift and their effort to enforce such changes should always be appreciated. A CIO in the present day needs to be a full-blown business leader who understands both the impact of advanced new technologies on business metrics and how to make these new technologies effectively.
Another important aspect is that CIOs should keep asking questions like “What if we try to do it this way? How could this change make an impact for the business?”. This type of ability to imagine the unknown is what CIOs need to unlock and build models that predict and optimize business outcomes.
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Big Data refers to a term that describes huge clusters of information that may be structured, non-structured or semi-structured in nature. These varied data sets having high velocity and volumes are processed using the Big Data tools for data analysis. The analytics on these sets reveal significant patterns and trends that prove to be extremely beneficial for the business organizations. There are many innovative and interesting ways in which business organizations implement and use Big Data.
Some of these ways and methods are as listed and described below.
- Prediction of Customer Choices & Preferences
It is important for all the business organizations to understand the customer needs and requirements. Big Data is a mechanism that is being used by the companies to understand the customer behavior and demands using the process of data analytics. There is a lot of customer data and information that is available on the web via the social media channels, company websites, and several other platforms. These datasets are gathered by the organizations and are analyzed using the Big Data tools for understanding user choices, patterns, and preferences.
- Strategy and Decision-Making
Big Data provides cost-effective mechanisms to study the customer-oriented data patterns and trends. The results that are achieved using such processes allow the organizations to form the strategies and organizational decisions as per the customer needs. Such practices provide the organization with a competitive advantage over the similar organizations. Also, the level of customer satisfaction also goes up as their demands and requirements are met.
- Establishment of Data-Driven Culture
With the transformation in the technological practices and digital advancements, the business practices and organizational activities have also witnessed a major shift. The present era is the data-driven era wherein the organizations are required to form their business decisions on the basis of the data that is associated with it. Big Data tools and techniques allow the organizations to form a data-driven culture. The culture enables the organization to enhance the level of customer and employee satisfaction by analyzing their needs and demands.
- Identification of the Required Skill-Set
Human resources are the most significant resources that are associated with any of the business organization. The success or failure of the organizational activities is largely dependent upon the knowledge, experience, and skills of its employees. Big Data tools are being used by the Human Resource (HR) department in its recruitment processes. These tools are applied to understand the skill-sets that are necessary for the projects being executed in the organization and the talent identification is done as per the results achieved.
- Newer Methods of Generating Revenue
Data is the most important asset for the organizations. There is a lot of data that the organizations deal with on a daily basis. This data is being used by the big and small companies to create innovative methods for generation of revenue for the organizations. For instance, some of the datasets are available for the customers for free of cost. However, customers are required to pay for certain data sets. In such a way, the revenue earned by the organization on such data sets increases. Similar value-added services are being created by the companies with the usage of Big Data tools.
- Customer Segmentation
The products and services that are provided by the companies to its customers vary on the basis of the customer type. It is necessary for the companies to form the marketing and advertising strategy on the basis of the customer group for enhancement of the customer base. Big Data tools allow the companies to segregate the customers on the basis of different groups such as age, gender, purchasing power, preferences, the preferred mode of purchase and likewise. The offerings by the company are designed targeting each of these groups that lead to increasing the customer base.
- Fraud Detection
There has been an immense increase in the cloud-based services and solutions that are being offered to the customers by the companies. With the increase in such services, there has been an increase in the cyber-crimes as well. Big Data allows detection and prevention of frauds by using historical data to reveal the common patterns that are used by the malevolent entities.
Technology has allowed the business organizations to make progress by adopting latest advancements and innovative solutions. Big Data is one such contribution of technology that has brought several transformations in the business tasks and activities. These tools are being used by the organizations to improve their brand image and gain a competitive edge in the market.