Big Data offers companies a number of useful benefits, including opportunities for decision makers to gain deep insights about customers and market opportunities. When used effectively with analytics tools, Big Data can also help business leaders identify and stem emerging issues (e.g. a developing bottleneck in a company’s supply chain)—even before they’ve reached the surface.
Challenges Associated With Big Data Still Need to Be Addressed
Still, despite the tremendous opportunities that it offers, Big Data also presents some heady challenges to organizations. These include struggles among different classes of users to interpret data effectively; the potential for privacy invasion; the difficulties associated with parsing through large volumes of data; and the prospect of spending too much time, money, and resources chasing poorly-defined problems or business opportunities.
Given the enormous challenges that Big Data can create, it’s essential for companies to have the right technologies and processes in place to effectively gather, analyze, and act on vast amounts of data. This includes pinpointing the right data sets to use and extrapolating insights from the data streams that are available.
Since organizations often struggle with the massive volumes of data that are available, data discovery techniques can provide executives and other business leaders with improved and insightful decision-making.
Analyzing Customer Behavior
Data discovery can help executives analyze customer behavior across different channels. This is a critical requirement for business leaders in customer-facing roles (sales, marketing, customer service) because customers often use multiple channels (social, traditional web, mobile) in their journeys to research and evaluate products in the buying process.
Understanding how individual customers and customer segments behave in specific channels (e.g. whether they use Facebook and Twitter to find product reviews and/or websites to compare prices) can help guide business leaders with the next best actions to take.
Data discovery enables business leaders to learn things about their data sooner. One example is a vice president of a bank using data discovery techniques to detect a recent decrease in customer satisfaction ratings.
Data visualization and data discovery tools can enable an executive to determine the root cause of the dissatisfaction (like incurring checking account overdraft fees) among a high percentage of customers. A deeper analysis informs the vice president that waiving the overdraft fees will result in a short-term profit hit, but improve long-term customer satisfaction, loyalty, and customer lifetime value.
Data visualization techniques enable decision makers to spot patterns among millions of different variables quickly and easily. It allows executives to identify trends that aren’t readily apparent—such as the purchasing behaviors of different segments of customers or recent changes in operating margins—along with the factors that are driving these changes.
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