It’s no secret that the amount of data businesses must manage is growing dramatically. Business applications, sensors, consumer devices, and social networks are generating a huge volume of information— a trend known as “big data”— at a faster pace and with greater variety than ever before. On top of this mountain of data, customer expectations are shifting dramatically.
Consumers no longer make purchasing decisions based on great advertising or on information from a single source. Today, consumers have access via social networks to feedback from numerous existing customers. In order to succeed in this new world of empowered consumers, companies must be able to sift the gold out of big data and use it to rapidly respond to their customers.
Move Forward with Big Data Analytics
A host of new and increasingly forward-looking signals (around customer sentiment, business uncertainty, and other non-financial information) is available through big data to help inform business decisions. Yet most companies are still using the same lagging signals (financials in the form of income statements and balance sheets) that businesses have used for the last 100 years—information that’s inadequate for supporting the sophisticated decisions that are necessary today.
There’s been a distinct evolution in the approach to business intelligence (BI). Over the past two decades, organizations have invested in traditional BI tools (such as query, reporting, and analysis) that are designed to answer questions about what has happened and why. But it’s no longer sufficient to focus on analyzing the past.
Fortunately, with new analytics functionality like visual exploration and predictive analysis, companies can identify the signals that will have the biggest impact on their business and quickly turn this information into a competitive advantage.
Gain Real-Time Insights
Real-time analysis of big data enables critical insights into:
- Customer trends: Real-time insight into promotions and competitive offerings helps companies keep up with customer trends. It provides the information needed to make intelligent decisions on product placement, channel strategy, segmentation, rewards, and pricing and discounts, to name a few.
- Product and services: New offerings are coming to market at an increasingly rapid pace and with shortening lifecycles. With real-time analytics, companies can stay one step ahead of challenges and fast-changing trends in order to address them more proactively.
- Operations: Macro disruptions, like a hurricane in the US or an earthquake in Japan, affect supply chains. Even intra-company issues, such as manufacturing equipment failure, may require a proactive sense-and-respond mechanism. Real-time insight into such issues helps companies react quickly to mitigate the effects of an operational problem.
Are You Ready?
Opportunity’s knocking—and not just with your existing customers. There’s a huge new market waiting—the middle class is reaching 5 billion worldwide, and incomes are rapidly growing in the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.