Creating A Competitive Advantage Using Big Data

Creating A Competitive Advantage Using Big Data

Big data is commonly referred to as massive samples of data that can be analyzed and interpreted in order to identify patterns, which theoretically leads to better decision-making. And regardless of the sector or niche, this booming industry is predicted to be one of the essential components for future success.

Considering this, it is no surprise that experts are encouraging every company to seriously consider Big Data if they want to compete in the future. This prediction is largely influenced by the industry’s recent growth, as over the past 5 years, the creation and consumption of data has seemed to have an annual exponential growth.

Such boom is predominately due to technological advances – e.g. smart phones – that have seemingly made the creation and consumption of data simple enough for individuals of all ages. Such universal use provides an unparalleled opportunity for companies and organizations to better understand their target audience. Thus, those (i.e. individuals or companies) that are able to properly utilize this expanding resource will be able to establish and sustain a competitive advantage for many years to come.

The New Advantage

Regardless of niche, companies and organizations are utilizing big data in order to better understand their audience, and thus gain an advantage over their peers. Yet, data itself has no meaning, therefore companies in almost every industry are seeking experts that can efficiently mine through massive amounts of data in order to create, interpret and capture value. For example, in healthcare, data scientists are discovering both the benefits and risks of globally distributed pharmaceuticals that were not discovered in small clinical trials.

Another unique advantage relates to Big Data’s real-time and high frequency complexion. An article in Ivey Business Journal examines these qualities by focusing on something called nowcasting, which the authors described as, “the ability to estimate metrics such as consumer confidence, immediately, something which previously could only be done retrospectively.” Furthermore, thanks to the aforementioned qualities of Big Data, data scientists are now able to experiment and receive immediate feedback on their respective theories.

How to Leverage Big Data

As previously mentioned, data has no inherent value, which thus makes leveraging a crucial component of utilizing all of Big Data’s potential capabilities. Below will be an analysis of some of the top ways that data can be leveraged to give yourself, or your company, a competitive edge.

Detailed Performance Information

As our society continues to digitize, companies are more able to collect, access and interpret performance information that may be of potential benefit. For example, some companies are monitoring data on everything from product reviews to the exact zip code of purchases. Upon interpretation, companies then use their findings to better understand ways they can boost their performance and make more precise business decisions.

Utilizing Hadoop to Accelerate Data Transformation

An article published by Oracle defines data transformation as, “the process of converting data from one format to another format.” In the past, data transformation had been a strenuous process; therefore more and more companies are using an open source software called Hadoop. Hadoop allows for massive amounts of data to be processed through economical servers and storage systems. Such method provides companies with quicker access to larger amount of data, all at relatively low cost.

Narrow Segmentation of Customers

With Big Data, collected information is so detailed and precise that companies are able to better tailor products and services. For example, if a nation wide company has a wide target audience, yet lately they’ve noticed that sales to Seattle teenagers have greatly diminished, they may use this data to create a campaign that attempts to re-establish interactions with customers that fit this precisely identify niche and location.

Create the Next Generation of Products and Services

Big Data can also be utilized as an extremely powerful products and services tool. For example, many companies are tracking data through various sensors and monitors in order to better understand their customers and how they use their products. With access to this data, companies can quickly observe popular applications (i.e. uses) and thus create unique customer oriented products and services that are designed entirely by what they know customers want or need.

Creating A Competitive Advantage Using Big Data

How Companies Are Using Big Data To Help Customers

In regards to customer service, there is quite a continuum for how Big Data can be leveraged and utilized. Naturally, there are some very basic services, some of which were mentioned above, but the true potential of Big Data really becomes lucid when examining novel, innovative ways of customer interaction.

For example, the rise of the mobile health industry – e.g. Nike+ FuelBand, Apple Watch – gave companies and customers alike the access to an unprecedented amount of data. Through this, companies found that customers are not only passionate about mining and leveraging personalized data (i.e. daily miles walked; daily intake of protein/carbs), but that such passion also translates over into their love of the product, and eventually the company as well.

Big Data also provides and unprecedented opportunity for companies to solve their customers’ problems. For example, a company may observe that a small amount of their customers experience a glitch within enter a particular portion of the app. Before the glitch impacts their mass audience, the company can quickly analyze that particular section, fix the bug and notify their customers of the fix. This sort of service would greatly benefit customer relations, as it leaves customers feeling as if they are getting special treatment due to the company being aware of customers’ problems before they could even identify them.