Big Data – Keeping An Eye On What Lies Ahead – Part 1
I remember when I started tinkering the first set of web reports back in 1996. It was a report running on CGI, comes out of the box with Apache that displayed a lot of cool graphs such as Hits (Yes! We used Hits as a measure back then.) coming from referring domains, mostly .com, .net and .edu TLDs. I remember pouring over a number of pie charts displaying where ISP hits are coming from, and they came from all over the place. At that time I found that data so amazing and interesting, sort of magical. It was almost like discovering a unicorn or a full spare tire. Where our system admins saw only the value of the data from a skin deep perspective, such as figuring out where people are coming from, as a webmaster at the time, I just saw a lot, lot more. I recall thinking that, if we were to measure traffic going to the site as Hits, then we were not effectively identifying the traffic. I also started thinking about other applications of the data such as figuring out what people liked or didn’t like on our website, or what type of content our traffic reads on a daily basis and figure out how to monetize that.
Now fast forward years later and BuzzStarter in tow, a number of data platforms after and we are in this age of information where sorting through this is now a critical piece in an organization’s business. Data is just exploding in a large scale and the bigger the data to analyze, the better it is to help a business scale their operations in terms of competition, productivity, innovation and growth. For an enterprise retail site that get’s 2 million visits a month, that averages around 4 million pageviews, that data reveals a lot when it comes to trends, behavior and engagement. With that said every leader of any business will have to create departments within their organizations to tackle the importance of big data and it’s not just a few analysts here and there. We are now living in an age where we can capture every bit of data that we can and this will create a huge growth in data in the coming years.
In my experience in digital analytics and online marketing, I see certain verticals where big data can come into play. Looking at these segments, the value proposition in big data investment is potentially big. These are:
- Retail. Being in this space is such a competitive industry. The landscape is full of players from small to big trying either to capture their entire market or create a profitable niche. Investing in big data can improve areas such as analysis of existing sales funnels that can possibly improve conversions by 25%. This can also mean the difference between knowing which online campaigns to kill or scale based on your bottomline.
- Healthcare. Healthcare has been a hot/passionate/intense topic in the United States since Barack Obama took office and his push for Universal Healthcare. If the current US Government leveraged data and did this right, HealthCare.gov would have been an immediate success. However, what happened was there was a lot of technical issues that crippled the website on day one, two, three, four… you get it. Big data could’ve helped save the US Government $174 million dollars in trying to fix the problem, especially in understanding how to really operate and push out enterprise websites like this.
- Customer Service. More and more companies are now investing in automation, especially in handling customer support issues. Leveraging big data can further help you understand sticking points in your customer satisfaction. For example, a customer is returning your product because of visible defects. The product carries a tag containing a code where it allows you to quickly figure out where this item was made, either one of your factories in Beijing or Saipan. Being able to figure this out at breakneck speeds allows you to correct issues with your supply chain and fix these problems on the fly.
Come back to Buzz Starter for insights and the continuation of this article. Impatient on how data can help understand and grow your business? Contact us and we will get back to you soon.
Posted in: Analytics, BuzzStarter
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