Other Than Its Size, What Makes Big Data Significant?
With the advent of cloud computing and online analytics, more and more companies are thinking about how “Big Data” can work for them. For many companies, the idea of “Big Data” sounds scary and confusing, but with some forethought the process can create more opportunities for growth and success.
What Is “Big Data?”
Essentially, “Big Data” is a combination of all of the information and statistics a company collects from doing business. Companies have been measuring multiple kinds of statistics for years, but the label of “Big Data” also covers less traditional information, such as Twitter interactions. This kind of measuring can cover a wide range of information from sales figures to web followers to how much people are talking about a business. This process combines the online and the offline activity to create a fuller picture of your customers and where money is coming from.
Obviously, some of this information is easier to obtain than others. “Unstructured data” is the term some companies use for items that don’t fit in a lot of data models. Instead of pure numbers, this kind of data can look like text-heavy social media posts. In the research world, this kind of data is called qualitative data. This kind of data measures more subjective and open-ended information — think of focus groups or surveys that measure a customer’s experience. This area covers more of the reasoning behind an action rather than an action itself.
Another type of data is quantitative data. Many companies and data programs see this kind of data as more cut and dry, close-ended source of data. Questions that come up during quantitative research usually have “yes or no” answers or are easily countable.
Why Is This Useful?
Data is useful for several types of tasks. By measuring data, a company is able to allocate resources in a more efficient and effective manner. For example, some companies will use data from customer loyalty cards to find out what areas of their company make the most revenue. Analyzing this data also provides a more complete picture of who is using the company, which allows companies to tailor their advertising practices and provide offers at the right time to the right people. Tracking data also allows a company to be more sensitive to customers’ needs, including the need to have their information secure and private.
Measuring data also allows companies to create advertising that reaches a wider audience in more creative ways. By creating multiple avenues to learn about the company, the company provides multiple ways to increase potential customer revenue. In fact, companies that measure data have a marked increase in revenue than the companies that do not research customer data. This increase comes from the ability to use data in making more efficient decisions and inform companies of areas that need less or more attention.
By collecting data from a variety of sources, companies are able to make more informed decisions regarding where to spend money and how to engage customers. Companies can also use data to figure out the questions they should be asking of themselves in order to grow. The adage of “you don’t know what you don’t know” comes into play here, and collecting data can shed light on issues that a company may not have considered previously. Collecting data also helps companies adapt to new trends and new issues that they might have missed without measuring data.
Measuring data and analyzing results can seem like a long and hard-to-understand process. However, by collecting and using data wisely, a company is able to make smarter choices in regards to their business and marketing strategy. Using data allows a company to understand customers better. Data also helps show what methods are working and what methods are not. By using data to guide more effective decisions, companies are able to grow and advance.