The accelerated growth of technology and the corresponding proliferation of big data have given business leaders greater access to a range of analytics that give them visibility into their organization. Where extracting data was previously a largely manual process, modern tools have increased its availability and accessibility and allowed organizations to become more pro-active and predictive rather than reactive and responsive. This has made significant changes to how organizations plan, and enabled a more evidence-based approach to decision making.
Here are some examples of how technological advances and the increased access to data are changing the way we do business.
Cloud-based (applications that are hosted by a third-party remotely, then accessed through an internet connection) offerings are scalable, easy to use, and can be more economical options for businesses than buying physical machines to manage themselves. And as more businesses offer their services in the cloud themselves, they are moving their own data there as well. Companies like Amazon, Google, and IBM all offer a range of cloud-based data management and processing services.
Social media is the world’s largest pool for market research. On Twitter alone, over 6,000 tweets are sent per second. And while much of social media’s value to marketers comes from what people like, share, or retweet, more forward-thinking analytics can use this information to extrapolate what people are thinking and feeling, what’s working and what’s not when it comes to campaigns, and how best to engage with their audience – all in literal real-time. This user-generated data is invaluable for market research, gauging brand health, campaign optimization, and measuring client satisfaction.
Similarly, the process of extracting online behavior data and analyzing it to optimize the user experience on your website and increase engagement, conversion, and sales is available in near-real-time. There are a number of tools, such as Google Analytics, that can dive deeply into your website and measure and report on user behavior and engagement. This information is then used to tell a story about how a user is engaging with a marketer’s brand – entry points, exit points, time spent on a page, the search terms that brought them to the page, etc. – and the website’s content can be personalized to provide a unique experience based on each user’s behaviors.
Pro-Active and Predictive Analytics
Advances in big data are not only in the amount of data that analysts have to work with, but in the processing power used to manage the larger number of records. Where machine learning previously used statistical analysis based on a sample of a total data set, the ability to process larger numbers of records and larger numbers of attributes per record brings increases in predictability. This allows analysts to extract and explore behavioral data throughout the day, and to identify trends that empower them to make pro-active and predictive decisions.
For business professionals looking to advance their career, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business also offers a Bachelor’s in Information Systems degree. Students learn to expand their technical knowledge, refine their business savvy, and develop the skills needed to ascend to leadership positions in business technology.