Big Data: 3 Insights That Will Make You Actually Love Big Data 

  • By jovi.brown
  • 19 Sep, 2016

Big Data for Performance

Big data has become a buzzword that lived up to its hype. Big data is predicted to pick up speed, whirlwind, and take the world by storm. You know of big data's importance. When citing GE and Accenture's Industrial Insight Report for 2015, Adam Bloom holds that 87% of top industrial firms believe that big data will shift their industry's competitive landscape in the next three years. Moreover, 89% say that companies that don't adopt big data could lose market share while 75% indicate growth as big data's key value point.

So what does all this mean? Big data has made a big impact on companies and has become pivotal to their success. They're darned if they don't use big data but blessed if they do. As a management consultant with experience in big data and analytics, I presented two articles from industry experts on big data, and I close with insights on how you can effectively use big data in your small business. By the end of this article, you will love big data.

In Pivotal's "20 Examples of Results and ROI with Big Data" , Bloom depicts 20 case studies of how big data has helped companies perform better. I picked 7 notable examples.

Southwest Airlines uses big data to understand online behaviors and actions. The insight improves offers for customers and leads to growth in loyalty year over year.

Since 2005, Kroger has used big data and analytics to increase customer loyalty and profitability. This has resulted in close to 60% redemption rates for their award-winning customer loyalty program and over $12 billion in incremental revenue. In fact, Kroger attributes their loyalty and data-driven buying pattern analysis programs for staying profitable during the 2009 recession.

In marketing, Ford analyzes multiple data streams on what was built, sold, in inventory at the time of sale, and what customers are searching for on websites along with economic data such as housing starts and employment rates. All of this is used to help sell more cars.

Emory University Hospital uses a new system to help identify and alert clinicians to danger signs in patents. Traditionally, streams of data like heart physiology, respiration, brain waves, and blood pressure flow through multiple systems and monitors in an ICU. Doctors and nurses monitor the information to make decisions. New systems are helping correlate the massive streams of data in real-time for much faster analysis and help saving lives.

For Red Roof Inn, big data has helped marketing produce 10% growth year over year. The marketing department opted to target stranded airport passengers. An estimated 2-3% of flights cancel daily, leaving 500 planes that don’t take off and 90,000 stranded passengers. The company uses big data to identify the areas of demand, search advertising, mobile communications, and other methods to drive digital bookings with personalized messages such as "Stranded at O’Hare? Check out Red Roof Inn". The timely ads extend an offer at the right time and right place for the right user’s search criteria.

Last but not least, a data analysis firm helped a multinational engineering firm improve team performance.   By looking at the number of members on a team, the time-zone spread, the relationship between workers, and other factors, the team saw a 22% increase in productivity.

Big Data, Creative Commons, http://www.splitshire.com/

Now, you might be saying, it's all well and good that those big companies used big data to improve performance; but I'm a small business owner. I don't have the budget to invest in big data. Furthermore, I don't know how to analyze big data so how could I use it for my small business? I'm glad you asked. In a minute you'll thank me for giving you the inside scoop on resources that most small business owners don't know exist. So, let's dive into the scoop.

Yes, accessing large amounts of data can be expensive. Thankfully, as big data's world has evolved so have companies that cater to businesses with smaller data budgets. In Harvard Business Review's "Even Small Companies Can Tap Big Data if They Know Where to Look" , Phil Simon indicates that small businesses can use data brokers. Data brokers such as Acxiom and DataLogix can provide companies with extremely valuable data at reasonable prices. Factual is another firm that companies can use, and they have datasets on healthcare, education, entertainment, and government.

That addressed one concern: affordability, but wait. There's more: analysis. You don't have to be a data scientist to get insight from big data. In addition, you don't have to hire a data scientist. Simon further states that you can submit a data analysis assignment to Kaggle as a competition. You set the amount that you'll pay the winning data scientist who uses your data to solve your posted business problem/question. As an aside, Top Brainiac provides another cost effective method for analyzing your big data.

I know that you have thanked me by now, so I'll go ahead and say, "You're welcome." But wait, there's more. Based on my passion for big data as a tool for competitive advantage, the business value that big data provides_ marketing, analytics, customer attraction, customer retention, human resources, operations, and personalization_ the entire organization, and information taken from the two authors, I generated three insights to make you love big data.

Leverage Smallness - Big data positively impacted the cited companies because the data insights were timely and relevant. The big companies had to go through layers of decision making to release data-driven decisions. Many big companies have failed big data campaigns because it took them too long to implement insights. By the time they release the insights, they're irrelevant. You are small. You don't have the layers so you can have an agile environment which results in faster decision making at reduced costs. Use your smallness to your advantage.

Be Proactive - Go after data. If you've been in business over a year, then you likely have data. You might have data from different sources: QuickBooks, phone logs, payment ledgers, interviews, videos, meeting notes, case notes, customer purchase orders, sales leads, marketing copy, website traffic, e-mail campaigns, text message campaigns, sales receipts, and the like. You have data. Though you might not have big data, you could combine your data with purchased data to create big data.

The point is to use data. Go ahead. Get started. Don't let big data paralysis settle in and lead you to stare at data without seeing insights. Start somewhere, and use data to address your business' problems. You can do it.

Focus on Importance - Focus on what matters to your organization. For example, if you're trying to build customer loyalty, then focus on your good customers. Look at their buying patterns, locations, relationships between them, and other factors that can help you use predictive analytics to identify their potential future purchases as well as other individuals who could become good customers.

Whatever campaign you start, focus on what's important for that campaign. Use examples, of how other companies have used big data, as a pattern. Start with small, focused chunks and expand from there. In big data's world, there can be a lot of noise. Filter through the noise and choose only the information that you need for your masterpiece. Remember, when Red Roof Inn looked at datasets, they could have focused on so many other factors, but they focused on people who needed their rooms: stranded passengers.

Now, we've come to the end. As you use big data, remember to leverage your smallness to produce relevant information, be proactive by going after whatever data you have available, and focus on what's important to address the company's needs. By using big data to improve performance, you're not only more likely to have better business health, but also your company is more likely to survive and leave competitors, who don't use big data, behind.

Jovi Brown, PhD CEO and Chief Management Consultant at Top Brainiac Inc.

Author

Jovi Brown is CEO and Chief Management Consultant at Top Brainiac a business technology leader. Jovi maintains a deep understanding of today's trends which drive businesses to be more effective and profitable. With experience in management consulting, she has advised numerous businesses on effective ways to leverage technology and strategy to increase profitability, productivity, and efficiency. Follow Jovi on LinkedIn and Twitter .

The Brainiac Blog

By jovi.brown 19 Sep, 2016

Big data has become a buzzword that lived up to its hype. Big data is predicted to pick up speed, whirlwind, and take the world by storm. You know of big data's importance. When citing GE and Accenture's Industrial Insight Report for 2015, Adam Bloom holds that 87% of top industrial firms believe that big data will shift their industry's competitive landscape in the next three years. Moreover, 89% say that companies that don't adopt big data could lose market share while 75% indicate growth as big data's key value point.

So what does all this mean? Big data has made a big impact on companies and has become pivotal to their success. They're darned if they don't use big data but blessed if they do. As a management consultant with experience in big data and analytics, I presented two articles from industry experts on big data, and I close with insights on how you can effectively use big data in your small business. By the end of this article, you will love big data.

In Pivotal's "20 Examples of Results and ROI with Big Data" , Bloom depicts 20 case studies of how big data has helped companies perform better. I picked 7 notable examples.

Southwest Airlines uses big data to understand online behaviors and actions. The insight improves offers for customers and leads to growth in loyalty year over year.

Since 2005, Kroger has used big data and analytics to increase customer loyalty and profitability. This has resulted in close to 60% redemption rates for their award-winning customer loyalty program and over $12 billion in incremental revenue. In fact, Kroger attributes their loyalty and data-driven buying pattern analysis programs for staying profitable during the 2009 recession.

In marketing, Ford analyzes multiple data streams on what was built, sold, in inventory at the time of sale, and what customers are searching for on websites along with economic data such as housing starts and employment rates. All of this is used to help sell more cars.

Emory University Hospital uses a new system to help identify and alert clinicians to danger signs in patents. Traditionally, streams of data like heart physiology, respiration, brain waves, and blood pressure flow through multiple systems and monitors in an ICU. Doctors and nurses monitor the information to make decisions. New systems are helping correlate the massive streams of data in real-time for much faster analysis and help saving lives.

For Red Roof Inn, big data has helped marketing produce 10% growth year over year. The marketing department opted to target stranded airport passengers. An estimated 2-3% of flights cancel daily, leaving 500 planes that don’t take off and 90,000 stranded passengers. The company uses big data to identify the areas of demand, search advertising, mobile communications, and other methods to drive digital bookings with personalized messages such as "Stranded at O’Hare? Check out Red Roof Inn". The timely ads extend an offer at the right time and right place for the right user’s search criteria.

Last but not least, a data analysis firm helped a multinational engineering firm improve team performance.   By looking at the number of members on a team, the time-zone spread, the relationship between workers, and other factors, the team saw a 22% increase in productivity.

By jovi.brown 10 Sep, 2016

As a small business owner, you know the economic value of marketing to women, since within the next 10 years 1 billion women are expected to enter the workforce and take the business world by storm. As a management consultant with experience in strategic brand marketing and business strategy, I presented two articles from industry experts on selling to women, and I close with tips on how you can effectively market to women to increase sales.

In Branding Strategy Insider's "5 Disruptive Marketing Trends" , Geoffrey Colon describes women as a disruptive marketing force. According to him, in the next 10 years, 1 billion women will enter the workforce; and this is largely due to urban migration, increased access to education, mobile technologies, and low barriers to entry into new marketplaces. Women will create work and start businesses at unprecedented rates, and women will shape and influence how businesses respond to their needs.

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