Big data is more than just a buzz-term, it's how we quantify everything these days.
From website interactions, to the productivity of employees and the nitty gritty of spending, proper data use is essential to guiding a business in the right direction.
According to the Harvard Business Review, 48.4 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies are investing in ways to take advantage of big data, with 80.7 percent saying those investments are "successful".
Businesses that are not taking advantage of the wellspring of data and numbers waiting to be tapped into are, quite simply, wasting time and money.
But it isn't enough to just know where to look to find the data it's important for those that run businesses to be able to analyse and visualise the information too.
Here's three ways you can use data to take your business to the next level:
Knowing your customer
The domination of online shopping has brought many Australian businesses to life, seemingly overnight.
Of course, being online has the advantages of a 24/7 shopfront, on-demand updates and the ease of advertising, but many online retailers neglect the most important aspect: customer data.
When customers trawl the internet, they often leave a trail of digital debris, generated from years of clicks and connections to wells of data like Facebook and Instagram.
When they click onto your store it is possible to harness that customer data and construct a virtual identity of the customer. By knowing how to analyse this often overwhelmingly large data source it is possible to construct exactly what your ideal, and most common customer really is.
From there it becomes a whole lot simpler to utilise the highly targeted advertising platforms on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Google to push products where you know they'll be bought.
Driving advertising and marketing revenue
Once you know your average customer profile a whole world of opportunities in advertising and marketing opens up.
The digital footprints left by those landing on your business' page can help you determine which types of advertisers to target to advertise on your site.
Alternatively, knowing this profile can let you access spaces to get your brand known.
For example, let's say you run a business or a brand that, through the power of big data analytics, you know is loved by millennials who also love sport and fashion; the Australian Open could be the exact brand partner for you to link up with.
Of course, this is a strategy that has been employed in the past by marketing experts, but analytics experts and programs can help you get this done far more accurately while spending less money.
Using big data to reduce costs is one of the most popular reasons data analysts and programs are brought into companies. According to the Harvard Business Review nearly 50 percent of Fortune 1000 companies have seen value from investments into big data research targeting cutting costs.
Once you start employing methods to track, visualize and analyse money coming in and out of your business, patterns will start to emerge. By seeing where savings are available it makes it that much easier to make the cut. Often when these figures just sit in a spreadsheet, devoid of a broader context, it is easy to let hyper-accurate savings slip through your fingers.
Data analytics is the next frontier for businesses to crack. If you want to master the art of big data, find out more from the University of New South Wales who will guide you on your data journey.
Business News Australia
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