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How to Use Big Data: Guide for Businesses & Organizations

Some of the biggest companies in the world proved years ago how valuable big data can be.

Now, nearly every company in the world understands the power of big data for helping businesses grow. The big data market is expected to reach over $76 billion by the end of 2020, and the technology has become much more accessible for businesses of all sizes. Even small businesses can use it to gain insights on their customers and inform business decisions.

But what about organizations that are more interested in just staying afloat, rather than focusing on growth?

Here’s how big data can be used to revive businesses on the brink.


Provide Insight on New Markets

If one market just isn’t working out, it can be a signal that it’s time to pivot and go in a new direction. Breaking into new markets can be a great way to revive a company, but there’s also a lot of risk involved.

Of course, it’s impossible to know for sure how a new market will respond to a product or service until it’s introduced, but big data can make that big, scary leap a bit less risky.

There is a huge amount of untapped potential out there, including within the mobile market.

For example, research shows that if personal location data were leveraged effectively to help consumers find services near them, there would be a $600 billion consumer surplus.

Organizations that haven’t been using big data to find untapped potential like this are potentially leaving money on the table. Big data can help companies explore new opportunities and markets so they can take calculated risks and find a new market or niche.


Organize Customer Feedback for Improved Service

Customer feedback is an incredibly valuable tool for strategic planning and making organizational improvements, especially for struggling businesses. However, it’s tough to put that feedback to good use, unless it is organized properly.

Maryville University Online created a resource on management information systems that highlights the importance of information systems and how big data can help organizations sort through and organize feedback quickly, allowing them to isolate and focus on the most important insights right away.

For example, there are a number of sectors within healthcare that have been struggling for years with customer service issues like wait times, excess waste, and poor outcomes. Big data is helping to revitalize hospitals by optimizing processes and allowing physicians to collaborate more easily on patient care.

Electronic health records (EHRs) have made it possible to bring big data into the equation to reduce medical errors and wait times, providing patients with enhanced care based on feedback the organizations receive. Today, about 90% of healthcare organizations in the United States use some form of EHR.

Although it’s a good example of how big data can make customer feedback usable, this tactic can be applied to struggling businesses in nearly any industry.


More Data, Which Can Help Cut Unnecessary Costs

One of the case studies that put big data on the map early on was the incredible success story of UPS. The package delivery giant spends at least $1 billion annually on their big data system ORION, which optimizes drivers’ routes, saving the company massive amounts of time, fuel, and money—well beyond 39 million gallons of fuel since 2001.

In addition to the cost savings, cutting down their fuel consumption is beneficial to the environment.

While UPS has the funds and volume to warrant such costs, smaller companies that aren’t doing well financially can still use big data to cut costs. More data can help organizations determine where to allocate their available dollars, and find opportunities for decreasing expenses and streamlining processes. Predictive analytics can even be used to help businesses prevent fraud and losses, reducing money lost due to criminal activity.


Develop More Insights on Customer Wants/Needs

Big data is especially useful for getting an unbiased picture of what customers want and need. In order to revive a sinking business, it’s important to get back to basics and find out exactly where customers are feeling let down. There are so many places companies can improve—their website, pricing, the products themselves—nearly every aspect of the business.

Big data can help struggling organizations find out what customers REALLY want, and what to prioritize in meeting those wants and needs.


Hope for Struggling Organizations

Companies that are on the brink often feel hopeless about the future. However, that’s not necessarily the case. By making some changes, even huge companies have managed to come back from a slump.

One good example of this is LEGO, which came back from a 29% drop in toy sales to increase its annual revenue to $5.72 billion. The organization did this by listening to what customers wanted: more focus on the original LEGO bricks. Stagnation, or even losses don’t necessarily spell disaster for businesses—and big data can help.

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