Big Data: Making Businesses Bigger

Businesses are increasingly embracing the concept of ‘you can’t manage if you don’t measure’ - Big Data

PCQ Bureau
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Businesses are increasingly embracing the concept of ‘you can’t manage if you don’t measure’. An academic research found that companies that have incorporated data and analytics into their operations show 5 to 6 per cent higher productivity than the others

– Ashish Pachory, Chief Information Officer at Tata Teleservices


Information is the lifeline of our age – not only for businesses but for institutions across the spectrum. It is constantly being created and growing richer by the minute. Transforming this asset into actionable insights can help businesses gain a new perspective, fix what is wrong and discover new horizons. The more information a brand has about its consumer, the better it is able to predict their buying behavior; leading to an increased chance of sale through bespoke product and service offers.

Big Data as a business transformer

Typically, there are three steps to data mining and interpretation - recognizing what is happening, analyzing how and why it is happening, and leveraging the information. Several big Indian brands are working to harness consumer data from every available source to make their enterprises customer-centric.

By combining big data and high-powered analytics, it is possible to determine root cause of failures, issues and defects in near-real time, potentially saving billions of dollars annually. It could translate into optimizing routes for thousands of package delivery vehicles - while they are on the road; analyzing millions of SKUs to determine prices that maximize profit and clear inventory; generating retail coupons at the point of sale based on the customer’s current and past purchases; sending tailored recommendations to mobile devices based on the customer’s locations; recalculating entire risk portfolios in minutes; identifying customers who matter the most and also using clickstream analysis and data mining to detect fraudulent behavior.

At one of the big retail chain stores in India, through data collected via their loyalty programme subscriber base, the retailer found that the average yearly spend of customers who buy both men’s shirts and trousers is 60 per cent more than that of customers who buy only shirts, and three times that of those who don’t buy men’s shirts at all. This helped them list 9 lakh customers for targeted ‘trousers communication’. With this equation in place, the retail chain raked in Rs 9 crore worth of additional sales in a three-week period, a lift of 30 per cent.

A corollary of data analytics is the possibility of generating additional revenue since retailers are the point of contact between stockists and consumers. FMCG players have globally started buying data/insights gleaned by retailers.

Also, as per a recent survey, the number of companies that funded a big data strategy had doubled since their last survey in 2012, but still 20% of the represented organizations did not see any business justification for moving ahead with big data. This leaves enough scope for the future of big data to be further explored and brought into action for impactful business.

Big Data is the Future

Another recent study claimed that 96% of the companies surveyed admitted that they could do more with big data and make better use of analytics in their organization. Indian companies are at different levels of data maturity — some companies are struggling to visualize their data while others are using predictive models and real-time analytics to drive decisions. Agile analytics and campaign management tools used by new generation analytics companies have made the technology affordable for Indian companies, strengthening the promise of greater big data integration by businesses in the future. The Indian government too is recognizing the value of big data insights to aid law and order, national security and public safety. Big data analytics deployment can help better map India’s landscape and uncover complex patterns of connections between people, places and events.

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