Big data can help you run your business more efficiently, manage your budget and supplies better, get a leg up on the competition and keep your customers happier than ever.
As a business owner, those are some powerful incentives to start using big data. So what exactly should you do with it to benefit your business?
Start with a Big Data Plan
Big data can seem overwhelming. That is why starting out with a big data plan is important. Ask yourself what you hope to gain from your big data.
If you want to learn more about how your customers behave when purchasing from you, start there. If your business would benefit the most from analyzing which services are most popular at different times of year, start there.
In the event you know exactly what you want from your big data, you can make subsequent decisions to help you get just that.
Gather Your Data
Once you’ve got a plan, it’s easier to figure out what data you need and where you are going to find it. Choose your data sources carefully – which ones are most likely to yield data that applies to the questions you’re asking?
You have a wide range of data sources to choose from including website and Google analytics, CRM systems, social media metrics and existing data that you have stored.
Once you’ve gathered your data, you’ll need to store it.
This doesn’t have to mean replacing all your data storage devices and business intelligence tools. Many specialized big data applications such as Hadoop can be used alongside your existing data storage.
Analyze Your Data
Analyzing your big data is at the heart of making it work for you. That’s what big data does – it offers you insights about your business that you can use to make profitable changes.
So, once you’ve got your big data, you need to analyze it. There are lots of data analytics tools on the market so take your time and research which one best fits your needs and skill set.
The aim of analyzing your big data is to answer the questions you asked yourself when you made your big data plan.
Knowing what you’re looking for will help you identify the patterns and trends that are relevant to you.
Apply the Insights You’ve Learned
As the article “So What Do You Do Now With All Your Big Data” explains, companies that make changes and put their big data insights into practice get a lot more benefit from big data than those who don’t.
In fact, they’re twice as likely to reach the top quartile of their industries as competitors who don’t make the most of big data insights.
What does that man for you? Essentially, that you need to figure out what to do based on the insights big data gives you.
Just found out that your customers love your up and coming products but aren’t that fond of the older stock? Now you know where to focus your purchasing and marketing in the future.
Review Your Results
So, you’ve gathered your data, analyzed it, and made some changes based on what you found out.
The final step is to review the results from those efforts. Say for example you changed the way you handle social media based on your big data insights. Now is the time to figure out if you’re getting more likes or shares as a result.
Once you’ve figured out how your changes are working out, you can set about gathering more data, gaining more insights, and refining your business once again.
It’s a cycle, and one which you can use to move your business ever closer to more success and happier customers.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including social media, SEO, big data and customer satisfaction.
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