Data has always been a cornerstone to gauge business success. It gives the companies informative insights about their customers, technologies and the systems that need to be improved upon. This ever-growing exponential data has provided us with robust technologies that various professionals use in their day to day lives. It doesn’t matter whether you are a healthcare professional, a fashion bigwig or a government agent, big data has truly made our lives simpler. What was once considered as redundant information is now delivering immense value in the form of predictive analysis and business intelligence. Let’s see how big data has become indispensable to businesses today.
Cut throat competition and lack of customer loyalty have led the retailers to squeeze and dig information about how to encourage the customers to stick to their brand. Retailers are constantly mapping on-site and off-site data and social data to understand the customer behavior. Even the healthcare industry is not untouched by its benefits. A study published online clearly reveals that the big data is providing an antidote to the cancer patients in 2 ways. The first is – the research firms are putting a lot of pressure on the oncology clinics to report a lot about quality metrics so that the doctors can understand the problem at the earliest stage. Further, data analytics has reduced the cost of care because the insights actually reveal on how to deliver higher value results at the lowest possible cost. Though there are a lot of challenges that create a big barrier in the cancer care like interoperability of data (linking of data from different points), but hopes are bright that this picture will be completed soon.
The standard days of brick and mortar business is quickly being overtaken by mobile and e-commerce businesses. If you wish to make your business succeed, it is important to prioritize the customers and their demands. Many companies have succeeded with this mantra and even the largest marketplace for goods, Amazon has followed this suit. The companies gather a lot of data about the customers such as where they live, what they wish to purchase, at what price point they wish to buy, what kind of merchandize will work for a particular marketplace, will the customers be ready to pay in case they upgrade their product, how the customers correlate the products with their needs, why the customers attrite to competition, and so on. When such information is mined together with the help of web data extraction, both the company and customers can get benefited from it. Due to its overwhelming nature, non-adopters consider this information explosion as a challenge, but it can be solved with the help of Big Data technologies.
Some interesting applications of big data in daily lives and businesses include:
Facebook has changed the way we used to interact with our friends and acquaintances. It has compiled a huge database to:
a) Improving brand loyalty: On its 10th anniversary Facebook took up a unique initiative to celebrate the occasion with some of the best Facebook moments for its users in one single video called “Flashback”. It was played along with nostalgic music in the background on the users’ feed and gathered energetic appreciation from users all over the world.
b) It encouraged people to vote: Voting has always been a priority for the government and an option for the citizens. With this view point in mind, Facebook started its social experiment to improve the voting base by placing “I voted” button on the users’ profiles. Users who placed their ballots in the US Elections, UK elections, Scottish referendum and Indian elections, noticed this button and vetted their experience. With its huge database, Facebook claimed that it motivated more than 60,000 voters directly and 2,80,000 indirectly where people saw the button and were prompted to vote. A huge number to impact and influence!
Matrimonial sites like Jeevansathi use big data to find an ideal match for your bride/groom requirement. They ask the users to fill their opinions and then create a database based on it. Thanks to their services, “happily married” no longer remains just a fairy tale. But how does this happen? Well, it is made possible by the new age Big data analysis technologies like Hadoop. Big data helps such companies to understand customer demographic and social aspects like their interest, their habits (smoking, drinking), profession and behaviors (docile or aggressive), which in turn helps them find a rose for a rose.
The innovative applications of big data have not left HR untouched. The trend has become a buzzword in the HR industry and HR professionals are embracing this trend with open arms. The trend is growing at an exponential rate because it helps the employers use varied data strategically to fill the right positions with the apt talent. Large scale recruiting firms like Manpower Group are one of the earliest adopters of Big Data and they use it amazingly well to their advantage.
Through this technology, they compile a huge data base about the candidates like where a candidate was employed, their performance-related data, salary details, and bonus and thus help the companies and individuals to find each other. Another example is of Xerox. With the help of big data, the company was able to knock down attrition rate by 20 percent in its call center.
Besides streamlining costs and improving business margins, Big Data is revolutionizing the healthcare industry as a whole. With big data, the healthcare industry can predict the outbreak of epidemics, avoid preventable diseases and improve the quality of life.
We see some great work happening in the healthcare industry on the big data innovation front. Medical companies like Aetna use big data to provide patients with a quick advice about the ailments. All you need to do is to login with the help of website or smartphone and provide details like screening history, health history, and present symptoms, and get a list of nearby facilities that can help you in a crisis. For example, if you are travelling and wake up with a chest pain in the middle of night, this can help you to find the nearest emergency room if you need it.
Big data slowly and steadily has entered into the lives of common people in the form of Aadhaar Cards, in India. The data submitted in this card is further linked to the bank account, and PAN card, to generate income tax return, to book your ticket, to avail LPG subsidy, among other innovative applications.
It helps the government to reduce corruption, to know how much valuables you have stored in e-locker, to detect bogus voters, to recognize the real beneficiary for pension, and to keep your investments in check.
Big Data is used by e-commerce companies to predict consumer behavior and trends that are likely to dominate in the future. For instance, Amazon uses big data in supply chain management. As the company wants to fulfill the orders in the shortest possible time frame, it inks a deal with the manufacturers and warehouses located closest to the vendor to reduce the shipping cost. Additionally, it also uses data mining to build its recommendation engine and stay ahead in pricing intelligence in comparison with the competitors.
Whether it’s a small retail business, school, healthcare, HR industry, or IT industry, big data has offered exclusive benefits to all. Beyond these businesses, big data has also paved way to parking lot analytics. A startup called Orbital Insight is working with multitude of retail chains to analyse the parking lots. From this information, the company can evaluate the performance of each company by delving deeper. This deep learning technique is helping them to find unique insights that could eventually make parking a lot easier for the customers.
The banking sector is gearing up with the use of Big Data. American Express is using it to get in-depth insights into customer behavior. By looking at their banking behavior and integrating 100+ variables, the company has come up with cutting edge predictive models to understand who will attrite to competitors and who will remain loyal. American Express has further claimed in their Australian market, they are able to forecast 24% of accounts that will close in four months.
Thus, it is evident that Big Data has sparked revolutionary ways of working in multiple industries. As an outcome, this marriage of big data with business acumen is benefiting the common man and taking the nation’s economy ahead on a growth path. However, it needs to be structured in a cost effective way so that it can witness swifter mainstream adoption for a thriving, robust, and innovative economy.