What is Big Data?

A social business trend which professionals have undoubtedly come across is that of the exponential growth of the availability of data. Deemed “Big Data”, it comes in several forms both structured, numerical data in line of business decisions, and unstructured, text, video, audio, email, documents etc. The importance of which doesn’t come in the form of the acquisition of today’s zetabyte worth data, but its usability. The real value lies within the architecture to harness its power so organizational models may benefit from strategically spreading its insight across all business objectives.

In terms of analytics, utilizing the immense amount of data an organization collects throughout the quarter, year and decade, companies utilize tools such as IBM's Watson to produce timely and cost effective strategies, new product development and more calculated business decisions. Simply put, this plethora of detail makes it possible to offer cost effective products and services at scale based on relevance to each specific individual customer. A case recorded by SAS which perfectly demonstrates this is that of NBA’s Orlando Magic.

Case Study 1: Orlando Magic - A Slam Dunk

When speaking to SAS Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer Jim Davis, Orlando Magic’s CEO, Alex Martins, claims thanks to a Big Data analytical approach, “We are seeing it transform our entire organization.”[…]“Big data helps us understand customers better. It helps us gather personal preferences to customize the experience they have with our organization.” In an industry where Moneyball is very much at play, sports teams capitalize on offering merchandise and, more importantly, seats to the right person at the right price. “Based on our Big Data, we can measure demands for specific seats, not (just) whole sections”  

Case Study 2: UPS - Delivering staggering Results 

A strong analytical approach not only offers insight to find supply and demand equilibrium of a product, Big Data can effectively determine root causes of service defects and failures. When UPS started its 2011 initiative for each driver to save one mile per day, its Big Data analytic approach to driving performance and route optimization, termed ‘On-Road Integration Optimization & Navigation’ (ORION), provided some staggering results:  

UPS-CaseStudyBoth SAS Case studies can be viewed here

Combining Social With Big Data

In a recent webinar with Sandy Carter, GM of IBM Ecosystems and Social Business Evangelism, Sandy describes the combination of Social, Big Data and Analytics as Socialytics. Stating that 66% of top performing companies are strongly leveraging social into their business processes, social by itself isn’t as powerful on its own as it is combined with analytics. Socialytics not only creates value for market segments and demographics, but also on an individual level. A recent craze amongst retailers in Asia allows customers to view how many of their friends ‘like’ a certain piece of clothing by entering their Facebook ID into the hanger! The customer can hence judge the product by how popular it will be between their friends. Not only this, Carter produced the memorable line that “Social Networks are The New Production Line”. The production line changed the game in the manufacturing line – social is doing precisely the same on the basis that Social is now embedded into a company’s entire business process: Customer Service, Marketing, Recruiting and even Product Development. A recent 2013 survey found that 77% of companies are using social media to recruit employees – who doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile anyway?  

The Next Blockbuster

It appears evident that Big Data is changing organization models no matter the industry IBM estimates that “Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.” As the amount of data points exponentially grow over the years to come, organizations who are proactively harnessing this powerful information, while keeping up on the latest cultural trends, are seeing it having a positive bottom-line effect – those who aren’t however, may well see themselves being left behind and labeled as the next Blockbuster.  

How is Big Data transforming your industry?