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Rationalizing Big Data

by Neeru Sharma, Co-founder and Director, Infibeam.com August-2016

Big Data will re-define the future businesses and help draw insights with refined business processes, decision making and solutions. Irrespective of the scale of business, data collection, analysis, and interpretation, big data will provide strategic edge in analysing and understanding the market dynamics and allowing management to channelize their resources into various business functions effectively and efficiently. 

The key challenge is to process the huge volume and variety of data captured from various access points, further delegating the information extracted to gain economies of scale. The revolution lies in improved statistical and computational methods. Secondly, the securitization and storage is a major critical task for management further assuring privacy of the user data and information.

Big data is a valuable asset for any organisation, business and has deep and far reaching impact on even internal functions like HR, operations, logistics, warehouse, finance, marketing and communication. Internally, data can be helpful for management to evaluate and assess employee performance and define processes for increasing productivity. Information from data can as well be used to streamline the logistics and shipment capabilities in a few business setups, further strengthening the supply chain management system. Inventory management and warehousing system can be re-designed and can assist management in stock clearance, losses and stacking. Packaging and marketing is another area where information generated from these data can be utilized. 

Big data helps in determining root and cause effect in near-real time, re-calculating risk portfolios and detecting fraudulent behaviour affecting organizations. It helps in realization of greater business intelligence by storing, processing and analysing data that was previously ignored due to

the limitations.

Externally, user data can provide intelligence to management for understanding customer preference and buying behaviour and help provide better experience for the product and service offered.  It will help management in new product offerings and also to re-design and re-launch old services and products based on the customer feedback and user experience. Business can undertake research and development process in a more precise and accurate format using the data points.

Considering the relevance, Big Data affects businesses and organisation across every sector like manufacturing, retail, government, education, banking, hospitality and health care. Analysis of the data can provide insight to manufacturers in area of raw material planning, production planning and improvisation on quality and minimization of waste. For Retail, both offline and online information derived by processing Big Data can help understand customer choice, preferences and behaviour. It also helps retailer in forecasting demand and supply in various geographies and inventory management. Logistics and supply chain can also be better aligned by analysing big data. This will help retail brands to provide better experience to their customers in cost effective manner. For online retailers big data also helps in analysing the cause and effect of return shipments and retain  customers. It helps in building in-house analytics for ROI measurement and performance analysis of every product and feature delivered also provide ability to understand how end-users are interacting with service content, product and features.

Government and government functionaries can analyse big data for better governance and  managing utilities, municipal services, traffic issue and  general administrative services in better and efficient way. In Education sector these data play critical role in understanding and evaluating student performance and weak areas and help educators to devise program for better progress of students. Management can use the analytics to support teachers and principal with better infrastructure helpful to impart education.

Banking sector captures and processes huge user data through their service offerings and provide information and insight to management to come up with better banking solution and services to keep customer confidence in the banking system, thus boosting their satisfaction further. The advanced analytics will help banks to minimize risk, fraud and secure the user information.

Health and Hospitality is another sector where big data if managed and analysed can provide insight regarding the patient history like treatments, prescribed medication which can be shared or referred for future medical issues for fast and accurate treatment. Hospitality industry can mine important information out of big data of the guest like category, travel pattern and preferences and help them improve their services and offerings.

Thus Big Data in new age business environment can bring out significant cost reduction, substantial improvement in computing efficiencies and relevant insight for launching new product and services. Big data offers value and valuable information to the organisation if analysed, processed and stored properly. The challenges include capture, curation, storage, search, analysis and visualization.

Big Data comes with Big Task and it is not about capturing huge varying piles of data from different sources and velocities but to process through the most relevant method and generate inputs for all business functions to feed into their decision making and planning.