I Like Big Data and I Cannot Lie
“Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it…” – Dan Ariely
As I have already captured your attention with the sex quote, let’s bring you back to November 19th, 2008. We’re now opening Nature magazine, one of the world’s most influential scientific journals. A team of Google specialists made a prognosis of the spread of influenza on the territory of the United States, outrunning the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding its prep time. How did data analysts win over the medical experts? Google’s team used search engine query data (the frequency of Google searches of parameters like “fever” and “cough”) and didn’t need the help of experts and doctors for completing its prognosis. This was one of the key events that outlined the potential of Big Data.
Big Data, Big Problems
As we already discussed the characteristics of the phenomenon in previous blog posts, today we will not focus on its definition and specifics. Based on experience and examples, we will try to build a strategy on how to proceed with Big Data and we’ll formulate some trends about its future development.
Google Flu Trends started with promising results, but unfortunately, didn’t achieve the overall success its creators predicted. It reached its failure peak in 2013 when its results were 140% higher than the real case. How can we not repeat Google Flu Trends history in our business path? How can our businesses use the potential of big data and not fall into the failure trap?
Big Data, Big Companies, Big examples
“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.” – Carly Fiorina
To out this quote into practice, as a starting point, we could sneak peek into the bigger names’ discoveries. Here’s a partial picture of examples how Big Data could tailor your business to match your customer’s needs, according to the Gartner analyst Doug Laney.
Macy’s real-time pricing, based both on demand and inventory
In today’s competitive and permanently impermanent business environment, flexibility is a must. Macy’s use adapted relevant Big Data in order to form the most suitable prices. This helps the business to not stock last season’s clothes and also aids the customers to orient themselves better in the retail abundance. In real-time. A win-win strategy.
Walmart’s search engine
Walmart.com is just one of the many businesses that see their search engine as a profit booster. Semantic search engines try to understand the definition of a word in the context that it is mostly searched in which leads to smart and relevant results. Walmart’s team claims that using semantic search engine boosted their conversion rate with 10% to 15%.
The adapting drive-through lanes
Doug Laney gives an example for a fast food company that uses cameras on drive-through lanes for offering the most relevant products. Fast food is all about the time you receive your order for, so the menu items offered are consistent with the length of drive-through lanes – the longer the lanes, the longer it takes to prepare the products. This means fresher meals, shorter waiting time, and adequate product offers. What could be better?
Another example for using cameras for improving customer service comes from Starbucks. Since 2015 the company introduced the implementation of cameras for their drive-through lanes in the USA, but, unlike the previous example, here the focus is on personal contact. Starbucks wants to focus on not ruining the established contact between the barista and the customer even when the whole service process is automated.
So, one absolutely similar technology could be tailored according to your business needs and adapted for achieving different results. Just like Adtailor’s big data audience profiler, check it out here.
Twitter as a game changer, Big Data as a business image booster
Morton’s The Steakhouse and their Big Data experience is a sign that sometimes just one tweet can boost a company’s name and image for good. A frequent customer of the Steakhouse tweeted from an airport that he could use a dinner at the moment. Morton’s team threw in Big Data, found info about his location and food preferences and turned his tweet wish into reality. Big Data is more than an opportunity to improve your business indicators and profits, Big Data is a magic tool which could transform and iconize your brand image.
The Social Purpose of Big Data
Big Data is much more than an instrument for corporative improvement, Big Data is a society game changer and it transforms the life we live on a daily basis. PredPol Inc used a tool created for earthquake prediction and transforms it to predict crime scenes down to 500 sq. f. The result is overall 33% reduction in burglaries and 21% reduction in violent crimes in LA. Pretty impressive, right?
The Big future of Big Data
I don’t think that you might need more proofs that Big Data is really a Big Thing. But when you live in a world that is changing every minute, you must be wise enough to capture the trends and use them in your business context. What is Big Data’s horoscope for 2017? Here are some of Forbes’ predictions about Big Data and its reflection onto business constellations:
- Data volumes will continue to grow. Not news, actually a sure fact. There is no doubt that the volumes of data will continue their exponential growth. Ways to analyze data will improve. As a matter of fact, they already are. Not sure? Give a shot to our demo, and see for yourself.
- More tools for analysis will emerge. A trend highly related to the first one – as the Big Data volumes continue growing, the same happens to the need of understanding and adapting the Data to specific and concrete business goals. The variety of Big Data analytic products is getting richer every day. As businesses are already turning to analytic tools for help to boost their efficiency and market positions, there is a whole market niche that could be filled in with more tools.
- Prescriptive analytics will be built into business analytics software. Prescriptive analytics is that priceless tool that helps you translate your business strategy into small achievable practical steps, or, in other words, that practical friend that pulls you out of the clouds and brings you back to reality. Bonus that comes with the use of intelligence is that you could see all the potential realities with their probability percentage. Armed with intelligence, prescriptive analytics is a must for every entrepreneur that actually wants business growth and evolution.
- A trend that will keep up its good positions is real-time streaming, according to Forrester. The example of Macy’s real-time pricing shows how the big names are trendsetters and their success will transform the business ambiance in the future. Real-time streaming is the apotheosis of adaptation, as the process represents an almost instant adaptation to current conditions.
Every click you make, I’ll be watching you
- Privacy concerns are maybe the biggest challenge regarding Big Data. The fear of data breaches and cyber crimes, the conceptual failure of anonymity, ethical questions like the discriminative side of statistics and computing are just parts of the privacy concerns related to Big Data. According to Doug Laney and Gartner, in two years almost half of business ethics violations will concern Big Data and privacy.
- More and more businesses will focus on drive value and revenue from their data. As this is the future, you can put your business ahead and ride the wave, taking your free trial on Adtailor’s service.
- As we talk about Big Data, it would be good to use some numbers. According to the International Institute for Analytics, the difference between businesses using Big data and the ones who not will equal to $430 billion in productivity benefits.
“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” – Otto von Bismarck
Google’s Flu Trends epic fail is not a reason to stop exploring the potential of Big Data. It is simply a warning sign for the need of another approach. The positive examples of other pioneers in its implementation are significant and persuasive enough. If you want to maintain and improve your indicators, boost your sales and popularize your business, Big Data is here for you. And Adtailor will help you and your business navigate into the abundance of information that floods on daily basis.