The rise of internet and open source software along with Cloud and Mobile computing have ensured that information technology is no longer an advantage for large enterprises or a bottle neck for small and medium businesses.

Open Source Software and Cloud Computing have democratized the way Information Technology is being utilized with organizations. With a level playing field created in terms of technology, the next frontier for business leadership is shifting towards the use of vast amount of Information.

In the fast changing world of business and technology, information plays an important role in ensuring the success of an organization. In the recent past, the most successful companies have been the ones that have successfully tackled the challenge of Big Data.

Big Data is helping organizations of all sizes to make better business decisions, save costs, improve customer service, deliver better user experience, and identify security risks among other things.

We have talked about the Big Data challenges previously; here we talk about some opportunities that Big Data provides.

  1. Operational Predictability
  2. Improved Customer Service
  3. Managing Security Risks

Operational Predictability

Technology has enabled to track operations across different units of business to the most granular level. Collecting and analyzing data from the past can help companies to identify patterns and predict opportunities or issues in a better way. You can track data generated from machines to sensors to computers to cash registers. Correlating this data can help you get insights in to your operations, real time view of transactions and customer behavior.

Improved Customer Service

Companies already collect data about their customers in various formats. For a large company consolidating multiple views of the same customer can help in giving a 360-degree view of the existing customers that can further improve customer service. Further to improve on this existing set of data, these customer views can be now expanded to include various internal or external sources of data, for example extracting feed of data about your products from social media. This can help you gain better understanding of customers, on how they perceive your brand vis a vis a competitor or what improvements customers are looking for in your products among other things.

Managing Risks

Big Data analytics can help with lowering risk of fraud and cyber threats if used correctly. Large banking, financial and insurance companies have implemented various big data solutions that help them identifying investment risks, reducing fraud threats among other things. Governments across the globe have implemented solutions that help them uncover suspicious activities. Of course, not all of these initiatives are well received by everyone, think NSA  & Edward Snowden.

Organizations also deploy big data to predict online attacks on their cyber assets and mitigate them before they could do any harm. Big Data solutions can really help organizations to solve a whole bunch of problems which were previously difficult if not impossible to resolve.

Use of Big Data is not limited to large industries, today SMEs can take equally take advantage of Big Data using Open Source and Cloud Computing technologies. Correct use of Big Data can help SMEs challenge the large incumbents in their industry successfully.

Each industry and company has various use cases of Big Data. In the next few posts, I will write about some of these use cases specific to certain industries.

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