Big data is the new way companies can find revenue sources and expand their reach. Whether they are looking for ways to cut costs or save money or bring in new customers, understanding data and being able to analyze it is the key.
While some Canadian companies have been slow to gravitate towards the use of big data, certain industries have already begun recognizing the benefits. Retailers, banks, and energy producers are taking advantage of big data.
Companies such as Schneider National and GE are using big data to find out valuable information about their customers. They put sensors in areas to capture data so they can make changes to benefit their customers and the businesses.
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How big data benefits businesses today
As companies learn how to utilize big data, they will see the benefits of collecting more information. Customers like to share their thoughts on products as well as their likes and dislikes. This information can be used to create new products and services and improve existing ones.
Companies can take information they learn about certain demographics to create a custom advertising approach. This approach works even when a product appeals to a wide range of people.
For instance, even though both single mothers and retired men buy automobiles, the reasons they buy and the kinds of vehicles they purchase are different. By using big data, auto dealers can create individual ads to target the needs of both groups.
Big data can improve customer service and enhance marketing; it can change the design and function of products. It helps businesses grow and be successful as they stand out against their competition.
However, there is still some concern among businesses about the security of such data. Companies that have access to large amounts of information from their customers must protect it.
Challenges of big data
Other challenges include the ability to organize and analyze data. Capturing and storing data is also expensive, and businesses must determine how much they will need and how and where they will store it. They must stay focused on the big data bottom line.
Ethics is another aspect of big data. From video to other data capture, it can infringe on people's rights. This not only affects customers but employees and even the public in certain situations. Constant monitoring may not always be in everyone's best interests.
The increase of wearable technology will present more opportunities to capture data, but it can also take away people's rights to privacy.
You can already see this with smartphones that take pictures and people don't even realize that they are being captured on video or in pictures. One of the unintentional results of big data may be that it will not be as accurate as people would like to believe. For example, as people realize that their every move is being watched, they may alter their online personality to protect their privacy.
The end result is that the information they provide may not be the complete truth.
Big data is here to stay and companies need to realize its benefits. At the same time, they must be able to weigh the risks and make preparations to protect them and the data they collect.
About the author
Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including SEO and business technology.