Companies of all shapes and sizes are collecting and storing data from their customers. Data has become a powerful asset with the ability to bring about digital innovations as well as improving current products and services. With the buzz of new GDPR regulations trying to limit businesses’ use of customer data, more have started to realise the value and potential impact of so-called big data.
In 2015, Forbes magazine estimated that by 2020 1.7 megabytes of data will be created every second for every human being on the planet. That being said, there has been some confusion as to what big data actually refers to, and why it is important for your company. In this article, we take a look at what big data really is, why it’s important, how it impacts your business and finally, how you can start using big data too.
1. What is Big Data?
Big data refers to the large amounts of data a business has to process, or in technical terms, large quantities of both structured and unstructured data a business deal with on a daily basis. Whether you are collecting names and emails, credit card numbers, or survey answers - you are collecting data.
The value in big data comes from collecting, storing and analysing the data your business receives. You can then find patterns, trends or other regularities/irregularities on your customer's behaviour which can help you build insights and could be of interest to third parties.
2. How Can I Use It?
It’s not about the amount of data you collect. It’s about how you use this data and the insights you can gain from it. By analysing your data, there are many insights you can gain for your business which can help you improve certain processes. For example, how to reduce costs, how to reduce time-consuming processes, new product development and product improvements, and finally smart decision making.
For example, the data you collect may help you determine the best stage in your customer journey to increase marketing efforts and eventually increase sales. Alternatively, big data allows you to instantly detect abnormalities in your business- whether it’s a bug that needs fixing, or fraudulent behaviour taking place on your platform. You can also use big data to see where you stand in terms of customer satisfaction and to better understand your competition.
3. Why is It Important?
In today’s landscape, data is everything. It can help you find out more about your customers and can also help you make strategic decisions about your business ultimately setting up your company for growth. Big data analysis should be integrated into your business as much as possible to ensure the insights are valuable and up to date. A good grasp on big data is also important to make sure you are up to date with government data regulations such as GDPR. According to a Harris Poll survey, “nearly 60 million Americans were affected by identity theft in 2018”. This is often due to companies mishandling or not protecting their customers' data well enough. Make sure your data collection processes are secure and conform with regulations as you do not want to put your customers at risk of data theft.
It has been estimated that within the next 5 years there will be 50 billion connected smart devices in the world, they will all be creating data that can be analysed and used for improving businesses all over. Make sure you start learning about big data now as it’s only going to get bigger with the technological advances we are set to see over the years to come!
This article was written by Dominic Wolf. Dominic is one of Company Connecting’s resident writers. He is a productivity and growth expert with a masters in technology entrepreneurship from University College London and is active in the London startup community.