Building Your Business on Big Data

Swati Deshpande

The efficient use of Big Data enables businesses that have invested in the appropriate technology and processes to increase market share, intelligently expand portfolios, enhance customer experience, and increase revenues.

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It allows them to make data-driven decisions which support capitalising on opportunities and quickly circumventing challenges, as well as adapt with agility to market trends and seasonal adaptations.

In a time of economic uncertainty, disruptive competitors, and increased demand from customers for personalised experiences, the ability to store, analyse, synthesise, and utilise large sets of structured and unstructured data can form the key differentiator to commercial success. Optimising the use of data will also clearly benefit any business seeking investment or looking for M&A. Good data management adds commercial value. Benefits include:

  • Data-driven marketing which delivers: sales and marketing’s focus and budget can be narrowed to target just the addressable market which has shown propensity and ability to purchase.
  • Bespoke customer service: customers can be communicated with in ways that the data shows they appreciate and value thus remaining more loyal.
  • Commercially strategic roadmaps: solutions and services can be retired, adapted, and evolve based on sound insight regarding what the market wants.
  • Customer retention: customers can receive extra nurturing if their behaviour is noted as like that of other customers which have churned.
  • Increased brand loyalty: perception of brand can be enhanced by the values that the data cites are most valued by the market.
  • Optimised automation: digital transformation can take place in the correct areas to aid both employees and customers.
  • Risks identified: data can be used to predict challenges and issues based on historical events or anomalies then businesses can proactively mitigate them before they become a problem.

Big Data is an umbrella term covering the huge wealth of information which flows into businesses from things like prospect and customer communications, consultancy findings, market insights, website analytics and salesforce commentary.

Stats suggest that the global Big Data analytics market was valued at over 240 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. That market is expected to see significant growth over the coming years, with a forecasted market value of over 650 billion dollars by 2029.

This is not without reason. Used effectively, Big Data’s value in driving smart decision making is undeniable, but its efficient processing can be complex and resource-intensive if the business does not understand how and why it should use the data it has, or if it lacks the right technology – correctly deployed and integrated.

Over the years, with popular media taglines such as 'data is the new oil' being used extensively in industry press, many businesses have started to accumulate and store large reams of data but with no understanding or strategy for how to utilise it. This means the data has likely cost more in storage and management than it has added any real value. Challenges with it include both technical and commercial issues. Businesses need both a data fabric and a data strategy and they ideally require an experienced managed service provider and data analysts to help them marry both. Where possible, technology and automation should be used to cleanse and integrate the data of value and dispose of the data which offers no benefits. Not all data is good data and too much muddies the water. Data can, of course, also have a negative effect if it is used to confirm a bias or if businesses struggle to understand the bigger picture or give weight to anomalies.

Used effectively, Big Data’s value in driving smart decision making is undeniable - but efficient processing can be complex and resource-intensive if the business does not understand how to use that data which it has.

Wanstor suggests that businesses which are in the early stages of considering how to make their data work for them should begin with an audit. Audits include these questions:

  • What data do they have available to us? This can be both internal and external and from prospects, customers, industry trends, partners, and the supply chain.
  • Where and how is it stored, accessed, and shared?
  • Which data should be prioritised. Which data offers most ROI?
  • What are our business objectives? How can the data we have offer value now and in the future? How does it need to be gathered and analysed to be delivered to the right business functions at the right time?
  • How much budget is available to enable the efficient use of Big Data?
  • What is the cost in not using it?

Once businesses understand the data that they have to play with and how it can add value, they can start to look at deploying applications which can make that data work for them – spotting anomalies, correlations and trends.v

For businesses which launched before the value of data was common knowledge, there will likely be a transition stage where data must be cleansed for inaccuracies and duplications. Most start-ups can, however, easily avoid this by having a workable data strategy from the offset.

When choosing a suite of data analytics tools, it makes sense to consider the tasks which need performing. These most likely fall under: capture, store, analyse, synthesize and visualise. This can then be discussed with a provider to understand which tools and solutions are required to get the most ROI.

When choosing a provider for any digital outcome, Wanstor recommends the same key focus points: Choosing a provider:

  • Does the provider have experience of working within our industry with comparable size customers?
  • Can we speak to some of its customers who have already adopted a Big Data solution?
  • Does the provider have specialists in Big Data?
  • Is the provider the right cultural fit?

Early adopters have already deployed solutions to capitalise on Big Data but that makes this a great time for conservatively innovative businesses to observe what others in the marketplace are using well and follow suit. The business case for Big Data is already there, the right providers can put everything else in place to follow.

Solutions for processing Big Data can be found in several specialised platforms and can be quite daunting. However, simpler solutions can be accessed with the Microsoft Power Platform, which we at Wanstor we are big advocates for. It’s suitable for any size business and we think it’s worth talking about here because it is included in some enterprise M365 licenses. This means that many businesses already have access to it - they might just need a little support in getting it configured.

We have helped several customers to realise its value in isolating, collating and analysing their business data. With its ability to integrate into a wealth of existing systems like, for example Salesforce, it can be a great, affordable way to manage and benefit from data, getting just the insight and information needed in easily consumable reports. Many businesses which may wrongly assume gaining ROI from Big Data was out of their grasp have realised that they can afford to view their whole data landscape in a simple-to-read dashboard, rather than in silos.

If you think your business could benefit from the Power Platform and would like to read more about how we have helped our customers integrate the tool, you can read our case studies here.