From its humble beginnings a few years ago as a concept in the minds of nerdy scientists, big data has become a mainstay in the business world. According to Harvard Business Review, 99% of businesses surveyed reported that they intend to implement big data analytics and AI in the near future.
On the flipside, only around 30% have actually succeeded in doing that.
That mismatch shows that while many businesses have not acquired the technical capacity to implement big data analytics, most (73%) of the businesses that have are seeing significant ROI, with most of them being large companies.
Small businesses can also benefit though. In fact, SMEs would likely grow the most considering their starting point and how they’d be able to move ahead of competitors who delay in implementing big data solutions. If you’re considering taking the plunge into the big data pool. here are a few of the potential benefits doing so could bring to your business in 2019 and beyond:
1. Marketing and CRM
Personalization has always been a priority for marketers. From mail merges to PPC retargeting campaigns, businesses have attempted to use personalization to form a closer bond with customers. The reason for that is simple – the more connected a person feels with a brand, the more likely they are to do business with it.
“Proper implementation of big data analytics will allow you to enrich product data and predict user preferences in a way that maximizes conversions,” says Vincent Müller, founder of HYGH, a startup which connects owners of public displays with advertisers in a peer-to-peer platform. “Reaching more people is no longer the priority– the most important factor in marketing success is micro-targeting people, who are likely to buy at just the right time.”
From determining the order in which to present products to producing highly-targeted email marketing campaigns, more data in your customer relationship management (CRM) software equals more opportunities to engage with customers on a personal level.
2. Security Enhancements
As the volume of online transactions has increased steadily over the years, the rate of fraud has increased commensurately as well.
From malware attacks like the infamous Wannacry virus, to less sophisticated but equally devastating social engineering attacks, hackers have brought down quite a few businesses online and offline. Losing customer data to an attack can destroy your business’s reputation, apart from the financial losses which would likely occur.
Big data allows for businesses to implement software which would increase safeguards on sensitive information by leveraging on a variety of technologies including video recognition, natural language processing, speech recognition, machine learning engines and automation.
3. Data Sharing
As startups and established businesses begin to work on problem-solving products and services, a catch-22 situation often arises. On one hand, there isn’t enough information to build a definitive product on. On the other, the data with which such a product can be created is often impossible to get without going to market with a minimum viable product first.
What if that curve could be shortened and the innovation process accelerated? That’s what data sharing does– connecting businesses to the datasets they need to derive innovative insights.
According to Reto Schegg, CEO of Healthbank, a company specializing in a patient-centered medical data exchange, “The trick is in encouraging users to share their data voluntarily by asking for their consent and giving them an incentive to do so.” That data can then, with the explicit consent of the user, be licensed to companies in the industry, helping them cut research time and expenses down drastically. “Keeping all the information safe must be a priority”, he continues. “The integrity of the data will draw more companies to participate since they’ll be able to rely on the accuracy of the data.”
4. Customer Service and Retention
Chatbots have already become quite popular as a means for businesses to provide top-notch customer service without the traditional time, budget and staffing constraints.
Apart from bots though, another way big data can boost your business’s customer satisfaction is by serving as a guide to help you design customer responsive products and services. With the right dataset, you can analyze and deduce the features which your customers prize the most and which ones you need to eliminate.
The data can be from surveys, polls or tracking technologies, but the essential factor is that today’s analytics software can conduct research and derive valuable business insights at a level of depth that would be impossible or too tedious (also too costly) for humans to achieve.
5. Human Resources
While human resources management is generally best served by having a human make a final decision, personnel data analytics can be an immensely helpful tool for HR personnel in any organization.
The method of matching resume keywords to job descriptions in order to shortlist candidates is no longer as effective, for the simple reason that there are now a lot more considerations which need to be considered before making a hiring decision, beyond what is immediately visible on a resume.
Data-driven AI programs can rapidly evaluate education, experience, skill sets, job titles, certifications, geography, social media activity, background checks and a variety of other parameters to identify the best candidates for a position. The quality of staff produced by such an intensive process will definitely reflect in the overall efficiency and profitability of your business.
By Ademola Adekunbi
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