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Big Data: Helping maximise the return on investments

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MUMBAI: Flip through business channels or newspapers and everyone seems to be talking about the Big Data.

And in the current digital revolution phase, it has become quite imperative for brands to efficiently and effectively leverage Big Data for strategic business decisions.

The rise of social and mobile computing means huge volumes of precious customer and prospect insights are available to further propel the business. However, extracting and making sense of this raw data, as well as data from traditional systems of record, requires definitive use of cases in which tangible business objectives drive experimentation with new tools, analytical techniques and operating processes for pinpointing potential returns on information — and investment.

So, Big Data Analysis is helping companies gain deeper insights into customer behaviour and industry trends, thus letting them make informed strategic decisions to improve their operational and marketing ROI.   In layman’s terms, Big Data can be defined as collection of data much larger than can be stored and computed in an individual large server. Generally the data comes from different sources like Data Warehouses, Sales data, online customer behaviour logs and social media streams. Because of rapid digitisation, the data is getting captured at a faster rate and continues to grow over time. These are popularly called as 3V’s of Big Data (Variety, Velocity and Volume), explains IntelliGrape engineering VP Narinder Kumar.

Global spending on Big Data hardware, software, and services will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30 per cent through 2018, reaching a total market size of $114 billion as per a recent report from AT Kearney.

It’s relevance in today’s world has grown multifold because though data analytics and lot of related techniques have been in use since long time but these were generally under realm of very large organisations. “Rapid digitisation, pervasiveness of internet enabled devices and social media has led to Big Data explosion in recent times. Existing tools and techniques are either not capable to easily handle such large data-sets or find it difficult to keep pace with such fast pace of data evolution,” points out Kumar.

He adds, “Alongside Big Data explosion, we are witnessing technology advances in terms of innovative products to harness power of Big Data. Hadoop ecosystem, NoSQL Databases, cloud platforms, analytical & visualisation tools have made it possible for mid and even small organisations to harness power of Big Data.”

Thanks to technology spurt, today organisations can apply for Big Data techniques in multitude of ways. For instance, an e-commerce portal can build recommendation engines to up-sell and cross-sell visiting customers. A bank can propose tailor made policies to its customers based upon their financial history, their existing portfolio along with their demographic details. A mobile service provider can predict churn and reach out to the potential customer base with more innovative plans.

Kumar says, “In brief, Big Data allows organisations to be become more data driven in formulating their marketing and product strategies rather than relying on guts, assumptions and expert opinions.”

Having said that, there are companies that don't know how to use Big Data to their benefit. “This is largely because the entire landscape has grown very vast in a relatively short span of time. We would say, Big Data domain is under early stages of maturity in multiple aspects. Many organisations are sitting on fences and waiting for the technologies to be more mature and best practices to evolve. As a result, we see several half-hearted attempts towards Big Data adoption. We witness a lot of PoC (Proof of Concepts) or isolated adoptions of Big Data analytics. This leads to low returns of Big Data investments for organisations,” reasons Kumar.

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