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Big Data for business: How to use it to your advantage
By now, most businesses are familiar with big data technology. Everyone has a general idea of how it works, but things get foggy when it comes to actually implementing a big data practice. You’ll notice that I used the word “practice” and not “technology.” That’s because most businesses don’t care what’s installed on their servers; their interest lies in growing the company by improving processes and decision making. Right?
A big data practice involves collecting all your resources—human, equipment, virtual, software and administrative—so that you can use the data and specific analysis techniques to give the company a competitive advantage. This may involve helping the company learn more about itself or reduce its costs. A big data practice isn’t just for the IT department, nor is it solely of interest to the marketing or operations teams. In fact, it’s not for any one business unit. It’s for everyone as they work together with an agile approach.
In fact, this is what we recommend to companies who are serious about big data; a successful practice is practically a business unit unto itself.
But before you get to that point, you need to know what your big data objectives are. For some companies, the answer is crystal clear. For others, not so much.
The experts agree that no matter what its size, a company should start by measuring itself. This includes measuring its processes, knowing what it does and how, using data as a support. Simply put, before jumping into big data, you need able to do basic business intelligence.
Only then can you push your analysis further by using historical data to predict what will happen in the future—and see how you can adjust accordingly. And this continues until you have completely transformed how your company does business.
Recommendations like this are interesting, but the reality is that there’s nothing like methodologies that are tried-and-true, kind of like grandma’s recipes. That’s what we set out in our white paper, “Big data for business: How to use it to your advantage.” It explains these methodologies in full, as well as essential concepts for sound decision making, reference use cases and more.