Big Data Innovators Rewrite Rules in Everything from Baseball to Banking

01/08/2018 01:00 pm ET

Big Data Software Solutions – A Game Changer

When Doug Laney of the research organization META Group first defined what constitutes Big Data back in 2001 businesses were just starting to learn how to utilize massive databases of information to individually target customers’ demands. Laney identified three types of data: high volume, high velocity, and high variety. In simple terms what this really meant was any type of data that traditional software couldn’t analyze effectively.

In one notable example, Vodafone, in partnership with Argyle Data, is using Big Data to detect incidents of fraud that simply weren’t possible just a few short years ago. This type of in-depth analysis could save the company millions of dollars.

Results like these do not come easy – even for established companies. According to Mahindra Comviva’s Executive Head for Consumer Value Solutions, Amit Sanyal, “many of our new clients know there is massive value in their data but don’t know how to start.”

According to Sanyal, databases and repositories around the world are loaded with “noisy data” and bad data. Data science experts and innovative solutions are needed to find the valuable insights hidden within the data.

Before a company can tackle large data pools of information, they have to start by identifying key questions that need answers. Only then can they use Big Data software solutions to analyze the available data and come up with potential answers to those questions. It probably won’t replace our reliance on Human intuition entirely, but it can remove a lot of the guesswork leading to noticeable improvements in revenue streams.

Most of us are aware of the constantly evolving nature of our connected lives and that can be intimidating for small to medium sized corporations. Open source data analytics and cloud based computing can level the playing field. These programs are able to handle large volumes of data efficiently and affordably, allowing the smaller companies to keep up with their bigger competitors.

In the past companies with modest budgets had to rely on historical averages and trends. That’s no longer the case as Big Data Analysis tools become more widely available. They can implement more effective marketing and sales techniques that enable them to compete with larger competitors. They can also identify and put the brakes on failed ideas more quickly before they drain the bank.

Data Analytics Improves Customer Relationships

Perhaps the greatest advantage for companies that adopt Big Data analytics solutions is the ability to turn what seems like unrelated or unstructured data, into useable insights. These insights are being used to create better products and services for customers. Complex models can be applied to large populations, like a company’s total transaction history, but often the biggest rewards result from hyper-personalization.

Virgin Media in the UK has used Big Data techniques to manage the massive amounts of data available to them in order to create customer loyalty programs. They’ve been able to develop meaningful and personalized customer interaction systems that actually address the different needs of each customer. This level of customer service wasn’t possible before the development of software capable of analyzing Big Data problems.

Big Data analytics is not a perfect science. Human beings can be unpredictable and that’s difficult for any software program to account for, but it does allow companies to make better decisions most of the time. This means misunderstandings happen less frequently and customers are generally more satisfied. When compared with the rudimentary techniques used in the 80’s and 90’s by most corporations the data analysis systems used today are significantly more effective.

The Challenges of Using Big Data Analysis

As important as Big Data analysis has become for the corporate world it doesn’t leave companies immune from potential pitfalls. Emprata LLC, a data research company, conducted a data analysis of comments sent to a large telecom lobbying group called Broadband of America that seemed to suggest a majority of respondents were in favor of repealing open internet rules. The problem was many of the addresses the comments were sent from turned out to be from fake email addresses and the analysis was essentially worthless.

Using wrong or misleading data can lead to failed initiatives that create unexpected challenges for companies. In this case, Emprata LLC noticed the error, but if Broadband of America had based their lobbying efforts around these findings and the truth came out later, it could have seriously damaged the reputation of their organization.

It’s important to keep the focus on the big picture. When taken to the extreme businesses might be tempted to think that they can solve the problems of every existing customer – that simply isn’t possible.

Big Data analytics, like any other types of software systems, are just tools designed to help a company remain profitable and sustain growth. There will always be a part to play for human intuition – at least for the foreseeable future. Businesses need to strike the right balance between their reliance on technology and the use of their business acumen to stay ahead of the competition.

What the Future Has in Store

Mahindra Comviva’s, Sanyal believes that we’ve entered a period in which Big Data analysis is no longer the exclusive playground of big corporations. There are interesting times in store for the telecom space, going forward. While every operator who wishes to stay in the game will continue to focus on the customer, subtle nuances of the game will change. Perhaps most interestingly, the “old order” of the telecom space is likely to cease to exist. The rules of the game (and, to some extent, the players) will no longer be as we know them today. Technology-wise, it will be business as usual, but with a twist. Ubiquitous customer experience will continue to rule the roost, while artificial intelligence and machine learning are more than likely to rear up their heads. All in all, analytics and, by extension, customer experience, will never be the same again!

In fact, his firm does work with many of the world’s leading mobile service companies. They also work with many small operators though, helping them to build capabilities and gain insights that only the global leaders had access to just a few years ago.

New data software solutions are making it more realistic for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of rich analysis tools. It will be interesting to see where we go next, but it seems fair to say that Big Data analytics has changed the way businesses approach day to day operations. Technology is levelling the playing field. Small companies may not be able to compete directly with the Amazons of the world, but they’re still much better positioned to succeed than they were just a few short years ago.

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