Using Big Data to Drive Business Growth

Big Data is without doubt one of the most talked-about business drivers in boardrooms across the world. The following blog steers you through the complexities of collecting and using Big Data and shares just some of the ways in which ardent clients are using Big Data to drive their businesses forward.

Big Data is exactly what it sounds like, it is the accumulation of lots of data, from lots of sources all fed into a central pot ready to be analysed. Put simply, it’s just data on a very large scale; terabytes and petabytes of data. The reason it has become the zeitgeist of today is due to the fact everyone now lives a great deal of their lives in the digital world so collection of data has never been easier. Data is being gathered every minute of the day & night so the speed at which the data builds up and changes, otherwise known as the velocity, the sheer volume, alongside the diversity, complexity, structure and sometimes the sheer inaccuracy of the data, is a new phenomenon. The business world knows the power of data and the value that it has in helping to drive better business decisions & even more importantly, managers know the questions they want answered.

What business wouldn’t want to have real time understanding of how consumers are behaving, what a potential client is looking for, what they are buying and from where they are buying? How much time and money could be saved if a business could accurately predict where the log jams in a supply chain were likely to occur? Is there a  CEO who is not as interested in what their competitors are up to as in their own strategies?

There is no doubt that Big Data will contain the information needed to deliver all manner of options for analysis. However, there is one almighty ‘BUT’ in all this excitement and that is – how can a business turn this mass of knowledge efficiently, accurately and quickly into a valuable business asset? Whether it is healthcare, IT, general industry, manufacturing, food production, media or professional services etc. etc., the volume of data is enormous and companies in all sectors are increasingly relying on the extraction of meaningful information from this data to make better business decisions.

At ardent we have specialist teams involved in the collection, collation, cleaning and management of Big Data for a number of local, regional and international clients, each client has its own objectives and requirements.  Here are just a few examples of why and how our clients are using their Big Data:

Understanding customers – gathering data about customers is not new but putting basic information together with behavioural activity through social media, browsing, shopping and searching, will give a 360° customer profile that allows much more accurate and detailed segmentation. The old adage of price, place, position and promotion can now be delivered through multi-channel marketing activity with pin point accuracy during all stages of the buying process. A number of ardent clients are using Big Data in this way to save money, save time, reduce promotional overkill and drive better results.

Predicting & driving customer behaviour – mining data to understand the most likely behaviours of customers is invaluable, particularly for our media and entertainment clients. Analysis of past viewing, downloading, reviews, ratings, clickstreams, device data, log files and of course social media all give a media provider  insight for schedule planning  and content distribution. This use of the data takes the guess work out of identifying audience interests and delivers most likely choices based on past and current behaviour. Clients can analyse this data at granular ZIP code level for tightly targeted localized distribution.

UX – Improving User Experience is one way ardent clients are attracting and retaining clients. By using Big Data a business can better understand ‘subscribe and unsubscribe’ behaviour, devise the best promotional activity by customer and, through better targeting, improve UX and therefore, results. Measuring the UX through sentiment data analysis also enhances experience, builds brand relationships and helps build competitive advantage.

Promotion targeting – Many of the options above are designed to enable focussed advertising beyond just the demographics of an audience. Personalisation of ad delivery is the big step forward that Big Data can deliver.  The right message at the right time and in the right place in today’s Ad campaign management has a lot more meaning.

Lastly but possibly even more importantly is the use of Big Data in real time Fraud detection – watching trends and understating much many more behavioural details of an individual provide a much clearer picture of the patterns and behaviours that define that person.  Abnormalities in behaviour are therefore much more easily shown through Big Data analytics and the potential to defraud can be stopped early.

The short version is that Big Data is incredibly valuable to business in many different ways; however, as always there is a challenge, the data comes in both structured and unstructured form and in large amounts. With many clients there is also no standard format to the data they collect. This is where Big Data can become a huge headache. It is crucial to understand exactly what you are dealing with, what data is available, remove all errors and abnormalities, and normalise different datasets from different sources to provide a common set from which to work – only then can Big Data really deliver good business drivers.

Outdated, inaccurate, or duplicated data cannot drive optimal decisions. The data on which you base your business strategies must be accurate, clean, up-to-date, as complete as possible – good quality data results in better decisions.

ardent has a specialist team managing all aspects of Big Data – if you need help or would just like to understand more about Big Data please get in touch +44 (0) 1582 870 180