“If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.” (Jim Barksdale, former Netscape CEO)
Just the other day, I was having a cup of coffee with an old friend. This coffee shop, which is new to our state, has started an innovative NFC payment system – I could simply tap-in my phone on the device and my credit card would be charged. If you’ve used Android Pay or even Apple Pay, you probably know exactly what I am talking about. What was even more intriguing was the overall dining experience. We were seated across smart tables. It was more like a kiosk, but an upgraded version to be sure. This was IoT (the Internet of Things) in action. The table stored my data. On my next visit, when I asked for a menu, it was accompanied with suggestions based on my previous visit. This is the power of Big Data. With the copious amount of data processing every day, restaurants are capitalizing on Big Data to store, analyze, and impress customers. It is not just about the restaurants; every business is trying to seek help from Big Data and grow faster than their competitors. But sadly, there are a few businesses that are lagging behind in the age of Big Data. Being old school is one thing, but if you want to survive in this age, you need to possess some stellar survival skills. It is like a modern day zombie apocalypse—but here, the zombies are not interested in gouging on your brains; they are looking to consume your competition. Back in the year 1984, all the data was stored in a 20 million GB digital space. And as for the year 2010, the global data sphere had roughly touched the 4 zettabytes (ZB) mark! Can you believe that? We call it Big Data because we as humans are unable to process such a humongous mountain of data with our brains. Einstein famously said that the next World War will not be fought with weapons, but with data in our arsenal. As entrepreneurs and business owners, you need to evolve fast. The evolution is not just centered on your brand, it is about knowing and understanding the conscience of your customers. Why do they buy what they buy? And how you can leverage data to make them buy your product? Let’s get excited about the multitude of ways in which you can save your dying brand.
Transform Big Data Into Smaller Chunks
As mentioned earlier, it is really taxing for a human brain to process and analyze the copious volume of Big Data being generated by customers. Humans have an ingrained trepidation for bigger-than-life challenges, visualizing them as threats instead of opportunities. Akin to the mythical Big Wolf or Big Foot, Big Data is misunderstood and untended because not everyone comprehends how to contemplate it.
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to. Alice: I don’t much care where. Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”
Before you jump into extricating the meaning out of data, you need to start with what exactly you want to do with your data. If you’re clear about the end-results you want with the data, you can move on to the next step. Organizations are leveraging Big Data to boost their productivity 10X. The fastest way to analyze Big Data is to break it down into digestible chunks. When I was working on an ecommerce website, they used to collect customer emails for newsletters. Before the email could be captured, the customers were divided into regions and based upon their geographical demographic, our call centers would call the customers on Christmas and sell them more pertinent products. Now, if that data was a mish-mashed jumble, how could it be of any use? For the Big Data to be useful, you need to organize and categorize the data into chunks, which can help you better analyze the data and make more informed decisions.
Figure Out The Patterns
This can be done only after Big Data has been organized and stacked together until it makes sense. Data is all about pattern. And if you figure out the pattern, it will be easier for you to use that array to gain something out of it. A word of warning though: I am not talking about invading someone’s privacy and leaking that data into thin air. I am talking about understanding the buying behavior of your customers and giving them exactly what they are looking for. Sometimes, the data can be as simple as running a query on Excel, other times for Big Data, you need to consider using classy data models or machine learning algorithms. One great example comes from a most erratic area: farming. Farm cows need the help of a farmer to ensure a successful delivery of their calves. The manual way is to monitor the movement of the cow every day. To make the process more efficient, researchers noticed that before the cow is ready for delivery, it always swings its tail in a unique way. Knowing the problem was the first step, and what to do with the problem is the second step. The researchers attached a sensor to the tail of the cow. This will send a signal to the farmer, alerting him of an imminent delivery. A lot of information is being sent out there for businesses to capture and analyze, but only a few entrepreneurs and brands are able to sense the pattern in the data.
Play With It
You remember how imaginative you were as a kid. You took characters and fabricated uncanny stories about them without anything reining in your imagination. In fact, there were entire worlds present in your mind. As adults, we can do the same. With such a vast amount of data at our disposal, we can use the data even for creative problem-solving. But instead of calling it play, we call it “experimenting.” When the solution is vague, we can use this data to tinker around and come up with simple, yet out-of-the-box solutions. This is akin to providing candid solutions to multifaceted problems.
Be ready: Big Data Is Going Ultra-Huge!
Big Data is deeply ingrained in our economy. In both our personal and professional lives, we are giving away data for businesses to analyze. The growth of AI in the ecommerce sector is a living proof that IoT is on the verge of ruffling some feathers in the future in inconceivable ways. Ride the wave and innovate to be sure that your business will survive the transition.