June 30, 2023

Big Data: Empowering Next-Level Business Transformation In The Digital Era

The term Big Data, first appearing in a publication in 1999 at the dawn of the online age, encapsulates the estimated 463 exabytes of data that will be created each day globally by 2025. This data includes all online behaviours from Google-ing a term to logging onto a social media platform. As these datasets are so large, they can't be processed with typical statistical methods.  

Business leaders have been using the data available to them to make informed decisions for decades. With the level of digitisation and advanced technology available for commercial use, business leaders now have access to a lot more data and more advanced processing methods to form conclusions from the data. Therefore, they can access better insights in real-time, improving decision-making.  

The evolution of data, characterised by its increasing volume, speed, diversity, and accessible sources, presents an exclusive prospect for business leaders. They can delve deep into insights about their company and enhance their operations through impactful business transformation.  

The role of Big Data in business transformation

As there is so much data about every action taken in a digitised environment, businesses can collect detailed information about every business area. This enables them to identify and resolve internal strengths and weaknesses as well as to leverage and prepare for external opportunities and threats at a fast pace. Whether embracing an upcoming trend or streamlining production processes, Big Data enables agile decision-making, which is critical in today's ever-changing business environment.  

Big Data has certain qualities that make it particularly pertinent to successful business transformation:

  • Real-time reporting enables organisations to be highly responsive to internal issues and external change, minimising disruption and maximising cost-effectiveness.  
  • Forward-thinking - Previously, data analysis only allowed business leaders to reflect on what happened. Modern-day data analysis is forward-thinking because AI and ML have developed predictive capabilities to map future outcomes so businesses start preparing ahead of the competition.  
  • Automation - With detailed real-time monitoring through data collection, many complex business processes can be automated. This saves time and reduces human error. The advanced capabilities of data-driven automation are due to its prescriptive nature enabling it to make decisions and come up with solutions.  

Big Data presents a substantial competitive edge for companies that leverage it, so business leaders have no choice but to consider Big Data as a vital resource when orchestrating business transformations.

Examples of data-driven business transformations

The purpose of business transformations is to foster more success, whether that is higher cost-effectiveness enabling higher profits or better customer experience, improving the business's reputation. Big Data reveals areas of current success, areas needing improvement and the impact of implemented changes.  

If you are looking for opportunities to innovate, Big Data can unveil them, usually falling into these 2 categories.  

Business intelligence

Knowing what works well in the business and what processes fail to meet standards is essential. By better understanding their business operations, business leaders can initiate impactful transformation.  

The data-driven business transformation could take the form of improving production efficiency to create greater cost-effectiveness. The automation element of Big Data can identify the need for asset maintenance, increasing the lifetime of production equipment and decreasing the cost of production.  

Other issues it can detect to take preventive measures include peak demand that could cause outages and irregularities that could indicate fraud or cyberattacks. It can even be applied to people management for operational success. Human insights can be combined with data insights for enhanced decision-making.  

Customer experience

The customer-facing elements of a business are a priority for business transformation because the customer experience ultimately determines the influx of new customers and loyalty of existing customers - the lifeblood of a business. From the efficiency of customer support facilities to the ease of onboarding, the customer experience can be elevated by data-driven business transformation.  

Big Data can personalise the right products to the right people, improving successful sales efforts. This could be through targeted advertising or automated email marketing encouraging repeat purchases and upsells. It does this by analysing behavioural patterns, which uncover customer interests and intent as they browse online.  

The data might show a particular point in the customer journey where people tend to fall off, identifying an issue to be resolved through business transformation. Big Data can predict, identify and resolve problems with how a business serves its customers.  

How to utilise Big Data in your next business transformation

If you want to make data-driven decisions about business transformation to stay ahead in a data-rich environment, there are some best practices to keep in mind. Your data strategy should include these 3 key elements.  

What to collect  

Businesses can only be guided by valuable insights if the right data is collected. The data sources consulted should align with the purpose of analysis and the goals you'd like to achieve through data-driven business transformation. Various touchpoints within the business operations and customer journey can be equipped for data collection.  

How to process it  

Once data is collected, it needs to be processed to retrieve insights and come to conclusions. Consider the type of analysis that will give you the insights required to make business decisions. It could be descriptive to explain past events, diagnostic to find the reason behind events, prescriptive to come up with solutions or predictive to foresee future events.  

How to share it

The more accessible data insights are, the more impactful your data strategy will be because it enables employees in the day-to-day running of the business to make data-driven decisions. Accessibility is particularly useful for the rollout of business transformations. Data portrays the initiative's impact and highlights any adjustments that could be made to improve results.  

Businesses are expected to make more frequent business transformations to accommodate the fast pace of change. They can turn to Big Data for real-time reporting and advanced analysis of business operations and customer experience to identify what business transformations to create and implement new initiatives for optimal impact.  

With so many organisations recognising the value of Big Data for commercial use, business leaders can either stay ahead by learning to utilise data for successful business transformation or risk being left behind.  

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