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Putting Business Data to Work

Updated on October 22, 2013

How to Put Your Data to Work

The amount of digital information generated by big and small enterprises continues to grow at an unimaginably staggering rate. According to The Economist, retail giant Wal-Mart, handles more than 1 million customer transactions every hour, feeding databases with more than 2.5 petabytes of information! In addition, McKinsey consulting reported that “by 2009, nearly all sectors in the US economy had at least an average of 200 terabytes of stored data (twice the size of US retailer Wal-Mart's data warehouse in 1999) per company with more than 1,000 employees.”

Many companies consider data to be their most valuable and differentiated asset along with their employees. When competing in a globally-integrated economy, enterprises today need a comprehensive understanding of their markets, products, customers, competitors, employees and more. This understanding of the increasing volume and detail of information demands the effective capture and use of information, data and analytics.


Gain True Insight From Data

Enterprises are starting to understand that capturing, analyzing, processing and connecting these intricate and multiple sources of data can lead to some more insightful and accurate decision making thanks to data driven conclusions regarding an issue. Although some situations may call for gut-instinct, there is no arguing the value of data when making critical business decisions.


The Consumer

Global organizations and small brands alike can harvest their invaluable customer interaction and demographic data in many ways. By assessing and analyzing such data, a brand can truly understand the consumer’s experience. They can use the captured data to better understand and engage with their consumer and predict consumer behavior. What are these consumers attracted to? Why do they prefer a particular product? What makes them discard another product? All of these questions can be accurately predicted to some degree through data analytics.

Sophisticated analytics can also be used to segment and classify consumers based on their preferences, attitudes and loyalties. This granular information about consumers can then be used to tailor products according to the consumer’s needs. This can be applied across all domains and within all sectors such as telecom, healthcare, software services, manufacturing, retail and many more.


Insight Driven Decision Making

According to a survey conducted by the EMC Corporation (one of the largest providers of data storage services in the world), 91% of businesses surveyed reported that critically analyzing huge amounts of data has had a significant impact on the company’s competitive ability and decision-making. By using such vast amounts of data for operational analysis, enterprises can gain visibility into operations, customer transactions and relationships, as well as likely behavior.

This will provide decision-makers with a real-time understanding of the issues at hand, which in turn will help them in making insightful and accurate decisions to improve performance and productivity. For many organizations, it is just a matter of finding the biggest areas of opportunity where decision-making skills are required. Companies must also spend time locating the appropriate data, establishing a correlation between different data streams and applying analytics to decision making. Decision-making gets improved drastically in areas such as real-time business intelligence, digital marketing and product design and development. With pervasive and comprehensible data sets, new contexts are provided in such fields in which decisions are data driven and not opinion-driven.



Constant monitoring and processing of vast amounts of data leads to more cyber security and easy detection of online fraud. Analyzing data to know how people network with each other is known as social network analysis. These types of data analysis can help law enforcement and anti-terrorism agencies identify people who are linked, even if indirectly, to known trouble groups or persons. Analysis of this type is also often referred to as link analysis.


Business Intelligence

Social network data, and the analysis of it, can create some high-impact business insights. One important use is changing the way organizations value customers. Instead of solely looking at a customer’s individual value and worth, enterprises can focus on exploring the value of a customer’s overall network (which is increasingly valuable as social media continues to pervade our lives).

Another example of social network data bringing in business intelligence is within the gaming industry. Social network data analysis can be valuable in online video gaming to track telemetry data, such as who plays with whom, and how the playing pattern changes across games.

Big Data, Small World

“With too little data, you won’t be able to make any conclusions that you trust. With loads of data you will find relationships that aren’t real… Big data isn’

Overall, data will play an increasing role in establishing competitive advantage in today’s saturated and ever-competitive market. Armed with the tools necessary to track data from online visits and transaction, machine data from sensor embedded equipment, as well as social media and user generate content throughout the Internet, companies can make more substantial and precise data-driven conclusions.

The Joy of Statistics (And Big Data)


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      Mark 4 years ago

      Very informative and useful! Like this :)