When it comes to the use of big data analytics, there are several strategies that can be leveraged to ensure that an initiative works to the company's advantage. These days, businesses need to guarantee that the time and effort being put into a big data project provide an adequate return and they are not just spinning their wheels trying to keep up with competitors. Big data analytics can offer myriad benefits for corporate organizations, so long as decision-makers have a plan in mind from the very beginning.
There's no doubt that enterprises are leveraging big data analytics for a range of purposes within their business processes. In fact, big data expert Quentin Gallivan told InformationWeek that the use of big data has reached a tipping point where it has now emerged beyond the experimental phase.
"It's why you're starting to see investments coming into the big data space – because it's becoming more impactful and real," Gallivan said.
However, certain big data use cases have emerged that can bring greater value to an organization, including the following:
Gaining an enhanced customer perspective
One of the top priorities of almost any company is meeting the needs of its customers, and with big data analytics on their side, these groups need not guess what their clients are seeking from them. Gallivan said this use case is called the "360 degree view of the customer," and is the most popular utilization of analytics. Most often leveraged by online companies, using big data to enhance customer perspective can include statistics on what website pages clients visit, how long they remain on each page, what items they look at and when they leave. Many organizations also utilize social media numbers in their customer-focused big data analytics.
"So when [retailers] make target offers directly to their customers, they not only know what the customer bought in the past, but also what the customer's behavior pattern is…as well as sentiment analysis from social media," Gallivan said.
IBM added that in addition to improving company promotions, this type of strategy can also shed some light on what makes shoppers recommend businesses to other customers, and how companies can grow their client base in this way.
Exploration of existing big data
Oftentimes when organizations launch a big data initiative, one of the first steps is setting up systems to gather all the necessary information connected to the project. However, enterprises can leverage the data they already have on hand as part of a big data exploration strategy, noted Smart Data Collective contributor Bernard Marr. This type of technique represents a one-size-fits-all category of big data projects, and involves examining information the enterprise already has and bringing together statistics from across the organization. The main goal of this type of initiative is to ensure that administrators have all the information they need at their disposal to improve decision-making processes, and that this data is analyzed and presented in a form that makes sense.
"It enables companies to create a more complete picture and gain new insights from looking at all the available data," Marr wrote.
Analysis of company operations
Another way businesses are using big data is to leverage it to see how the firm is doing overall. These operational analysis initiatives can provide real-time oversight of current processes, customer experiences, transactions and client behavior patterns. Many times, these projects center around machine data, including IT systems and sensors, historical purchase databases, and even information gleaned from the Internet of Things and wearable devices.
Improving security intelligence
Marr also noted that corporations are utilizing big data as a means to improve their knowledge of the current threat landscape, as well as to illuminate protection strategies. Big data analytics can allow a company to reduce its risk, detect instances of fraud and monitor their overall cybersecurity in real-time.
Trend Micro recently leveraged big data to establish its Smart Protection Network. Through the utilization of user feedback, the security measure has the capacity to automatically recognize suspicious and malicious behavior, pinpoint these attack components and and prevent them. Within a single 24-hour period, the Smart Protection Network gathers about six terabytes of data from sources across the globe. It then analyzes more than 1 billion new threat samples to identify nearly 100,000 new threats. Finally, the system leverages this big data analysis to block 200 million threats from reaching the networks it protects.