Five Ways Companies Can Compete Using Big Data and Analytics
By Inhi Cho Suh, Vice President of Big Data, IBM
Big data is just that–big–and it’s getting bigger.
According to the research firm IDC, the worldwide big data technology and services market will grow at a 27 percent compounded annual rate, to exceed $32 billion by 2017.
However, it’s not only the amount of data, but also the ability to transform their industries that is inspiring organizations to take action. Using big data and analytics, for example, doctors can better diagnose illnesses in order to help save lives. At the same time, financial institutions can analyze big data to detect and prevent fraud.
In fact, here are five ways to take advantage of big data and analytics:
1. Build a corporate culture that’s savvy about big data and analytics.Organizations are becoming much more data driven, applying insights to everything from key business processes and decisions to the way they fundamentally operate. Rather than relying on decisions based on gut feelings, businesses are infusing analytics into everything that employees touch–such as management systems, machine-to-machine processes, daily decisions and tasks — to develop evidence-based cultures and workforces.
2. Make security, privacy and governance a requirement. Businesses need to embrace innovation — while managing risk — by thinking and acting more quickly on insight derived from analyzing big data. They will need to embed security, privacy and governance policies directly into all of their daily processes.
3. Invest in a big data platform. Company-wide big data platforms allow organizations to address the full spectrum of big data business challenges. The real benefit of a platform (versus point products) is the ability to start with one capability and easily add others over a big data journey, whether it’s based upon transactions, social media or mobile computing. They can run a full range of analytics, use dashboards to observe and plan, employ predictive analytics or even new cognitive computing capabilities.
Satellite TV provider Sky Italia, for example, used to rely on data from cable boxes to understand what its customers were watching. After switching to digital platforms, Sky Italia was able to find new insights into viewing behaviors with big data and analytics. We helped them create program schedules and on-demand content that was based upon social media data, which revealed the most popular shows based upon comments in social media. The same data also allows the company to run targeted marketing campaigns, delivering more effective messaging to precise customer segments.
4. Appoint a Chief Data Officer. The research firm Gartner says more than 100 Chief Data Officers have been appointed in large enterprises today, which is more than double the number of CDOs in 2012. Chief Data Officers will continue to emerge as a vital member of the C-suite in a variety of industries. They will be an organization’s champion of data, focusing on the best ways to analyze big data to transform their businesses.
5. Infuse cognitive intelligence into a new generation of apps. We are seeing a new ecosystem of startups, ISVs and developers who want to accelerate innovation, creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit around cognitive computing. This will spark an entirely new class of applications that will learn from experience, improve with each interaction and outcome, and assist in solving the most complex questions facing industries and society today.
The use of social networks and apps is driving transparent interactions and creating fundamentally new sources of data that didn’t exist five years ago. Businesses are learning to harness this data — generated both inside and outside of their organizations.
A marketing and sales department, for example, could use analytics to create customer experiences tailored to an individual’s preferences and interests. At the same time, human resource teams could see thousands of data points to develop more precise plans to recruit, cultivate, develop and retain their top performers.
As more organizations embrace big data and analytics, they will continue to find more ways to transform their businesses and acquire, grow and retain their customers.
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Inhi Cho Suh is Vice President of Big Data for IBM. She joined IBM in 1998 and held a variety of leadership and management positions focused on strategic growth, development and marketing for the company. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Duke University and a Juris Doctorate from North Carolina Central University School of Law. She currently resides in Ridgefield, Conn., with her husband, David, and sons, Jacob and Noah.