Harnessing Big Data
Companies that create capabilities for capturing, processing, analyzing, and distributing data in order to make better decisions in real time will likely be able to outperform their competition and respond more quickly to their customers’ needs. The data avalanche is coming from a number of sources, such as enterprise resource planning, orders, shipments, Weblogs, GPS data, radio-frequency identification, mobile devices, and social channels; and there is value to be created in all areas of a business by adopting a data-driven culture. ~ Alix Partners
The era of big data has arrived, and it is impacting every conceivable area of business: from strategy to operations, marketing, and through the complete business cycle to future planning. It has been estimated that 90% of all data in the world has been generated within the past two years.
Big data is defined as large sets of data that can be further analyzed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, giving companies a substantial advantage in the marketplace, when used effectively. Therein lies both the opportunity and the challenge. Analytics talent is essential to harness big data.
Tracking what could never before be tracked, predicting what could never before be predicted, and improving the interactions between supplier and customer: those are the tasks of analysts engaged in understanding big data and assisting decision makers in delivering value. Their responsibilities are ripe with potential, and the ensuing consequences of the analytics process can prove profitable or disastrous.
“What gets measured gets improved.” ~ Peter Drucker, management guru
Current and Potential Uses of Big Data
- Walmart collects more than 2.5 petabytes of data every hour from its customer transactions. A petabyte is one quadrillion bytes, or the equivalent of about 20 million filing cabinets’ worth of text.
- “Companies in the top third of their industry in the use of data-driven decision making are, on average, 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors. This performance difference remains robust after accounting for the contributions of labor, capital, purchased services, and traditional IT investment. “ ~ Harvard Business Review
- Machine learning can help doctors diagnose and treat a wide range of diseases. Algorithms can analyze results from blood tests, the electrical tracings of a heartbeat (an electrocardiogram or ECG), images from a heart ultrasound (echocardiogram), cardiac stress tests, and genetic information. A complete electronic record is finally achievable.
- Web behavioral data is able to predict consumers’ buying decisions, helping companies to reduce inventories and improve speed to destination.
What’s Ahead for Big Data Users
Data and analytics are powerless to make good decisions without human insight. What is ahead for big data users is the necessity to use every human faculty in the decision-making process. The predictive abilities of AI are becoming rapidly known, but without the human factor, and the accompanying insights into human relations, big data will never fulfill its complete potential.
In the near future, visionary CEOs will use the talents of every employee in the process of learning how to collect, disseminate, compare, and use data from multiple sources.