Every Business Has Access to the Data They Need—But Do They Use It?
by Daniel Newman | August 8, 2016
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I don’t think anyone could argue that there’s not more data available now than ever before. Most businesses now have algorithms that can instantly read years of information. And that’s the exact definition of big data: figures so large and extensive that they reveal trends and patterns. Answers derived from the study of these details can completely change a company’s marketing campaigns. It’s incredibly powerful, and it’s at our fingertips. But surprisingly, few businesses are tapping into this wealth of knowledge.

Encourage a Different Mindset

One reason your company may not be capitalizing on big data is that you’re afraid. More precisely, it’s your CEO who is nervous—not about what the numbers might hold but about transforming your company mindset. We perceive CEOs and management teams as confident and all-knowing, with the experience and iron will to navigate the twists and turns of commerce. Examining the figures in big data and tailoring your firm as a result may make you feel like you’ve been kicked right back into school—but it couldn’t be further from the truth. With more data comes a greater need for analysis.

If you’re afraid of change, this fear is stopping your business from acquiring useful information—only 61 percent of senior innovation executives are using data to inform their decisions, according to a GE Survey. Considering the value of the data you may be ignoring, that’s astronomically low.

Another factor that may influence the non-use of big data is that the information may be difficult to understand. Data analytics requires specific knowledge and advanced training, and smaller companies in particular might not have access to such talent. You may expect your CIO to decipher the numbers, but with improper instructions, he or she might arrive at false conclusions—which in turn negatively affects his or her view of big data.

Gain an Edge With Big Data

You might be steering clear of this information because you’re not sure of the source. Big data is compiled over an almost unbelievably grand scale. With the proper dissection of the numbers and details, you can have particulars derived from:

  • Emails
  • Blogs and comments
  • Social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Videos
  • Banking records
  • Commercial transactions
  • Traffic sensors
  • Internet searches
  • Medical records
  • Surveillance

With the right analysis, you can gain extremely valuable information, like knowledge about the way customers perceive your company and products. Numbers might show a tendency for patrons to prefer one particular item or service, and by expanding your emphasis, you can increase profits.

Predictive analysis helps you to determine what level of risk your firm presents by studying patterns of similar businesses. Big data can also provide constant information about your industry so that you immediately have the scoop on new developments. Opinion mining, also called sentiment analysis, can be extremely useful to businesses both big and small—I’ve explained some of the ways you can leverage this information to your business’s benefit. But for it to work, you have to decide to use it.

This kind of study takes careful analysis, but it is well worth your time. It’s more than just easily deciphered opinions, as it works to translate attitudes and emotions. If your social media accounts seem to respond negatively to your brand logo, knowing early can save you countless dollars and much wasted time. Another smart use would be to map the landscape of your company’s data to look for weaknesses in your own structure. There are all sorts of possibilities to be unlocked by someone with the right expertise.

Big data usage has increased eight percent since 2014, but it’s still not enough. A wealth of information is at your disposal, and if you want your business to be its best, don’t shy away from this incredible tool. Leverage the intel at your fingertips, and use big data to its fullest.

Photo Credit: stevejohn12381 via Compfight cc

About the Author

Daniel Newman is the Chief Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. Read Full Bio