Grail Research recently released an interesting report, entitled “Big Just Got Bigger,” that used three concepts to help put the bigness of big data in perspective. The first is volume, as in 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day worldwide. The second one is velocity, or how the speed of data moving across an organization affects how quickly executives are able to make decisions. The final concept is variety, as in how unstructured text, video, and audio, if analyzed in time, can impact business decisions.
There IS Power in Big Data
While few companies have managed to harness all three V’s of big data, there are some that have already proven its true value. In the report, for instance, there are examples of how big data has impacted retail, telecom, and public safety and security. Analysts attribute international retailer Target’s growth to its use of analytics to influence purchase decisions and drive customer loyalty. Sprint used analytics to find the root causes of customer dissatisfaction and reduce customer churn by 74% within a single year. And SecureAlert, a monitoring firm that tracks criminals, now uses location data to contribute to pre-crime detection and intervention.
Big Data Requires Big Shifts
The promise of big data holds enormous appeal, yet most firms are still grappling with what to do with a quintillion or so bytes of data. This data is complex and requires a new way of doing business all across the enterprise. Here’s what Grail suggests:
- Leverage data throughout the organization. Data should no longer used in a siloed fashion. It is best leveraged across functions throughout the enterprise, from operations to marketing, and from strategists to the individual worker.
- Transform planning and operations. To unlock the real value of big data at different levels in the organization, the fundamental ways that businesses plan and operate must change. This includes everything from optimizing inventory mix and supply routes down to analyzing customer preferences and behaviors. All of which can have an impact on revenue, profitability, and customer acquisition and loyalty.
- Employ new ways of analyzing data. Every day there are new, emerging approaches to harnessing the volume, velocity, and variability of the massive chunks of data. Besides new analytical approaches, there is also a need for an innovative breed of human intelligence to synthesize insights that are actionable.
Faster “Time to Insight”
The companies that take advantage of the rapid advances in hardware, software, and networking technology will be the first to master the three V’s of big data. Those are the companies that have the potential to revamp business as the world knows it today. The end game, as Grail says in the report, is a dramatically faster “time to insight” that fits the style and pace of business demands in the 21st century and these companies will lead the way.
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