Today’s businesses aren’t new to data. For decades we’ve seen them keep track of their expenses, sales, customer base, etc. But, only until recently has data moved from being a source of bare information to a haven of actionable insights.
Credit for popularizing the usage of data and the coinage of the term “Big Data” arguable goes to McKinsey Global Institute’s May 2011 report. The report cites Big Data as “the next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity. “
Businesses today understand data, and they’re quickly exploring creative ways to make the most of what’s at hand. Data has transformed businesses to the extent where ignoring its importance is a regretful strategy.
Let’s take a look at how various businesses are benefitting from the power of data:
The first evident benefactors of data are the retail industry, online retail in particular. E-commerce sites harness their data’s capabilities to understand customers better and employ a strategy that improves their retail experience, thus increasing their odds of spending more and increasing profits.
For example, retailers can keep track of their product shelf, and differentiate the successful products from their loss-making counterparts. With this knowledge, retailers can plan to replace unsuccessful products with new additions, and zero-in on the types of products that are making the business the most money.
Financial institutions can use data for use cases beyond stock market analysis and large ticket trading. Banks are using big data to create credit scores that reflect the card holder’s behavior in the most accurate fashion possible. Fraudulent transactions can be identified by understanding the data-backed trends of similar earlier transactions. Employing data in their operations allows financial services firms to make the business of money efficient and safer than ever.
Educational institutions are using data to identify areas of learning difficulty, research better learning strategies, and adjusting syllabi based on what’s trending in the industry.
Students can be understood in a way that objectively provides a road-map to their success in academia. Courses can be planned by online education aggregators using data on each course’s adoption, and they can zero-in on the successful courses and eliminate or replace sub-par ones.
Hospitals and drug manufacturers are using big data to track patients’ symptoms, find new medicines, and avoid preventable deaths. Most recently, data enthusiasts have been using data to track the spread of pandemics such as the coronavirus. Drug manufacturers are also using data to discover new medicines by guiding scientists to potential organic raw materials and sources.
Data helps traditional industries such as agriculture too! Farmers can use data to monitor crop growth and predict the influence of factors such as weather, pesticides, and the market for selling their crops. Also, online forums exist wherein farmers across the globe can show source data on agricultural activities to improve information reach and insight-based decision making.
For decisions wherein referees could go wrong, data can stay right. Sports are using data to ensure gameplay stays fair, by understanding the trends and the movements behind fouls and violations.
Governments, more law-enforcement, have started using data to analyze trends in crime. It also has the potential to be used for identifying missing individuals and victims of criminal activities such as human trafficking, drug dealing, etc.
With growing use cases for data in business, there is no excuse for businesses not taking advantage of this information revolution. Gone are the days where business leaders had to rely on their gut feelings. By harnessing data’s capabilities, businesses can understand the past, evaluate the present, and hack the future a lot closer to their favor.
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