It’s easy to dismiss big data as something that is happening elsewhere, and which doesn’t really have an impact on your business. But big data is becoming increasingly mainstream and companies that are adopting it are seeing positive results.  If you don’t start to recognise the advantages of big data and how it could change your business now, you risk losing out.
The value of data
Even the smallest companies generate data these days, from websites, social media, transactions and more. But many businesses fail to realise the value that this data has. It can unlock useful information about your customers, what they like to buy and what offers might appeal to them.
That said, you need to be responsible about how you collect and use information. You have to secure it and make sure you give people the ability to opt out of sharing their information if they wish.
Big data can come from a variety of sources, including the new generation of Internet of Things devices. These can track the performance of machinery or the routes taken by vehicles and more. This data can be used to improve efficiency by, for example, tracking shipments. But it can also be used to assess the performance of employees.
Again there may be worries here about elements of ‘Big Brother’ surveillance. But there are positives to be had; you can monitor health and stress levels for example. Ultimately data about how staff perform in certain situations and which individuals do best can be used to inform the recruitment and personal development process.
For most businesses, the big attraction of big data is in how it can be used to improve the customer experience. Sensors on machines can help you understand how your customers use them and therefore lead to improvements in the product that can help it meet expectations.
More and more of us have smart devices such as fitness trackers, TVs and even thermostats that can feed useful data back to companies. In the long term, this means even more data and greater opportunities to understand people’s behaviour.
And of course, there’s marketing. In addition to knowing how they behave, understanding what your customers buy can help your target your efforts both to retain them and to sell them additional products. Once again, however, there’s a fine like to walk. Studies indicate that while people like to get personalised recommendations and offers, they are concerned about giving away information and how it might be used.  It’s important to achieve the right balance so that you can engage customers but not risk driving them away.
Using big data effectively in your business means having a management team that is able to see the opportunities it offers and understands how to use it effectively and safely. The team at Clifford Associates can help you to find the right people with the skills to take you forward into this brave new world.
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