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With global awareness and adoption of technology rising at a steady pace and things changing at the speed of light, running a business is even more difficult now than it has ever been before. With a consistent increase in the number of businesses jostling to occupy the same niche, technology emerges as a decisive competitive differentiator. The situation is definitely not easy, but yet full of opportunities for alert businesses. It is a situation in which the fittest can survive and root out the competition with emphasis.
One of the factors that has clearly come on to play a major role in deciding the fate of businesses at this juncture of the twenty-first century is their ability to acquire important, relevant, actionable information and to act on that information as fast as possible and as effectively as possible. In fact, it is now also a requirement that actionable information gets processed and put to good use almost in real time.
Big Data – The force behind intelligent data
This change has come by largely due to the influence of that we now know as big data. Comprised of the huge volumes of human-generated data that flocks the internet on a daily basis, big data has truly turned age old business perceptions and processes on their heads, providing the businesses of this day and age with a brand new, potential-filled tool which, when effectively leveraged, can bring about a sea of change in the fortunes of a business.
Business all over the world are now actively engaged in perfecting their aptitude and experience in the collection, manipulation and use of big data. New web data extraction techniques have given rise to the possibility of data acquisition with pinpoint accuracy, and as it is becoming evident in many cases, the primary goal is to be able to turn data into insight which can then be used to as a deciding factor for business decisions.
Indeed, the importance of big data lies within this very fact – that big data drives better decisions. Acting on collected information to arrive at insight and using that insight to fine-tune and tweak business plans and strategies has for a while been the preferred modus operandi of many successful companies. The onus now lies on how well an organization is equipped to leverage the true power of big data to make better business decisions.
Information and its Role in Decision-Making
With businesses as it is with individuals, making decisions without proper information is like going down a blind alley or a wild goose chase. It is a hit-and-miss affair that is more likely to fail to yield the desired results. For any kind of decision-making, the party involved first needs some basic rudiments of information that would –
- Suggest a course of action
- Validate a course of action, and
- Provide concrete ideas about what needs to be changed to arrive at that course of action
With businesses in the current scenario, basic rudimentary information no longer suffices. Companies nowadays need a lot more of information and insight to steer themselves into the right route when it comes to decision-making. This is where big data can come in handy. With its well-respected potential when it comes to making relevant information available, it can be the perfect tool for businesses to bring smart, innovative and proactive decision-making to the table.
The Need for Big Data Involvement
If you are wondering why big data needs to be part of the decision-making process, the answer is that you simply cannot do without it in this day and age of huge social influence and customer preference signals. People are fast becoming better connected, social networks are still gathering avid followers and smartphones and tablets are flying off the shelves.
These factors make it imperative for companies to tap into these data streams to form a complete picture of their customers and potential customers. While some companies are being able to collect all these disparate information, analyze and process it to their requirements and specifications, and use the resultant insights to drive business growth. Some companies, on the other hand, are yet to fully wake up to the charm of big data, and these are usually the companies that end up at the bottom of the competitive pile.
It is now beyond doubt that big data and its related processes can make decision-making a largely more comfortable and effective effort. Let us take a look at some of the ways these notions can be implemented in real life scenarios.
Big Data and Decision-Making
If you take a look at how innovators the world over are using big data to bolster their decision-making process, a few things will gradually become apparent. These are the things that can be considered, in a generalized form, to be the advantages of using big data to drive decision-making.
It is popularly said that the future is nothing but the past happening all over again. While this is not entirely true, for businesses it has always worked in principal. Repeating old, time-tested formulae for success has scarcely resulted in negatives for any business. The only difference now is, with big data, analyzing the past to predict events in the future has become a whole lot easier.
Harvesting big data puts you in the possession of valuable information about past events – customer decisions, purchases, brand switches, perceived utility, trends, socially displayed behavior and attitude and a lot of other crucial signals play a role in this. Studying all these factors in detail, and analyzing the way that they might or might not have changed over time is the perfect way of becoming more equipped for predictive analysis. Trend analysis powered by big data can certainly help you make accurate forecasts, and then devise the right decisions to meet those forecasts head-on. It is a win-win situation for a business.
Every business is made of a few important pieces, with the most important ones being employees and business processes. These interconnected factors play quite a significant part in shaping the success of a business. With the advent of big data and data analysis, companies can bring important process innovations to the table, which can maximize the output and efficiency both of their employees and their business processes.
Data-driven insights can be used to improve efficiency in many ways, as it can enlighten company’s top management about previously unnoticed, important correlations between performance and other factors which can positively contribute towards increased levels of productivity, efficiency and innovation.
What is the best way to communicate with your existing customers and reach out to potential customers? There have always been many open channels of communication between businesses and consumers, and the trick has always been the ability or lack thereof to use the right combination of the right channels in the right way at the right time. In this matter, nothing can be as beneficial to decision-making as big data.
If you are trying to find the right balance and mix of mediums when it comes to effective communications, looking to firmly position your brand in the market and strengthen its favorable perception, become a better marketer overall or to create particular lines of products and services to address particular growing needs in the target audience, having big data on your corner can often be the difference between success and failure. For example, retail and e-commerce companies are currently using big data as a means to convey personal, personalized and tailored communications, resulting in much higher target engagement and eventually, more sales and revenue.
Big data can not only be used to streamline existing processes, its huge potential can also be leveraged to give rise to entirely new processes, ideas and innovations. If you are running a startup or just starting to transition yourself into a new domain of business, there is nothing better than to gain complete information about what you are walking into through the systematic study of information gleaned from big data.
This way, you can design your business processes from the ground up with exciting innovation in place, which can bring you success in the long run. Having a great idea is simply not enough – you also need to be sure that a market already existed for that idea and how to finally delivery that idea to that market. This is where big data provides invaluable and eye opening insight, thus helping to facilitate high-impact decision-making.
Overall, it can be said that decision-making in business is undergoing a process of transformation. That transformation can only become more and more profound once the full potential and capabilities of big data and the power it can bring gets uncovered. Decision-making of the best kind is critical to finding success in business, and using big data is currently the best way to arrive at important business decisions that work out in the end. The future surely holds promise for those business leaders who take this idea, internalize it, and properly leverage big data and its power for the next level of decision-making.