big data

How To Use Big Data To Make Smart Business Decisions

This is a guest post by Heather Redding.

Every organization needs to have the ability to make informed decisions. Businesses can’t rely on assumptions, hunches, or even experience alone.

The solution is collecting real-world data that can be organized and analyzed to solve problems and predict outcomes. Big data can help management discover insights and spot patterns to guide business strategy and test changes. This provides a competitive advantage to any processes that can be measured and recorded.

Each business has its unique methods and client base, but the right data analysis can improve marketing, raise production, and develop greater efficiency. Here are some ways that your company can utilize big data in making better decisions.

Making Use Of Social Media

The most popular social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have millions of users online at any given time. Many have built in analytic tools to help you understand what is happening with your followers. They are able to capture constant data in real time on mentions, likes, retweets, and other social activity. All of this information can become part of your company data to track what social users like and how well your brand is performing.

The challenge in accumulating all this information is integrating and ordering it to provide useful business conclusions. Structured data like names and numbers are easy to process, but 80% of data comes from unstructured sources like social posts and is less easy to measure and derive meaning from. This can consist of video preferences, images, downloads, and entire conversations that trigger different responses.

For the data to benefit your company, you have to be able to filter out the chatter and discover the relevant facts. For example, this could be how many times a new product image was liked and shared to determine its design potential with audiences.

Your company can use this information to gauge the impact of every click, tag, or pin that each post generates. By analyzing this information, you can make constant improvements to optimize your social media marketing across multiple platforms.

Informing New Product Development

Locating the best channels and content for driving revenue is simpler when you have a wide sampling of data. It makes launching a new product or campaign much less of a gamble. Collecting the data allows you to review complaints, reviews, transactions, and customer feedback to validate concepts and track progress. This can uncover new techniques and opportunities that you might otherwise miss.

Big data provides considerable value in product development. Gathering market and test data allow you to determine and satisfy customer demands, coordinate internal resources, and minimize risks so there is reduced waste and rework. This allows you to get more value and faster results from the entire process.

Customer input and data mining techniques can also help your company identify consumer habits and concerns that may not have been apparent without extensive analysis. Learning more about your customers and adjusting your processes will improve your brand engagement, sales, and customer retention.

Data modeling and predictive analysis of post-launch activity can also identify the best distribution chains, locations, and time frames to further reduce waste and maximize revenue. Insight into buyer behavior can help to identify existing products that can be bundled with major releases to boost revenue and clear dated inventory. Sales and distribution are analyzed in near real-time to improve ROI from product conception to delivery.

Collecting feedback on customer service activity or online surveys is a great source of suggestions and criticism that can refine both your products and services to provide consumers greater value. This can fuel better sales of product updates or brand extensions. Collating this information can provide insights to product designers and marketers in future initiatives that help them align with customer expectations.

Predictive analytics also helps companies to identify the features for next-generation products that generate the most sales for the least cost. Features and functions that are irrelevant and provide no value can be eliminated or tweaked early in the prototype-building phase. In short, big data helps you to discover customer insights that improve existing product lines and suggest new ones.

Recognizing Operational Inefficiencies And Improving Productivity

Tracking and analyzing production information can tell you where your company needs to improve its efficiency. This can point out parts of the process needing reorganization or technology investments like automation or new software. Staying on top of your internal processes will help to identify who your best and worst performers are, both in terms of internal staff, contractors, and supply chains.

Measuring performance and implementing improvements is made easier by some of the effective ERP applications on the market. These can provide analysis on a range of business needs from determining safe stock levels to re-assigning job roles. Efficiency metrics may vary from one business unit to the next but are critical indicators for sustaining and anticipating profit margins.

Big data can provide full transparency into individual performance, workplace accidents, damage, theft, data loss, and other factors impacting productivity and expenses. Analysis can suggest ways to improve workflow, reduce waste, improve security, and trace down the cause of nearly any business problem.

Final Thoughts

In summary, big data makes it possible to perform extensive analysis to increase decision-making in virtually every aspect of business. You can gather customer data directly through social media to align products with current demand and suggest the best marketing strategies. Big data will help to drive more effective product development and continuous improvement of internal operations for the best possible ROI.

Author Bio: Heather Redding is a tech enthusiast and freelance writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys swimming and reading. Street photography is her newly discovered artistic outlet and she likes to capture life’s little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter.

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