Business intelligence (BI) has been a long-time favorite tool of IT professionals, used to make a number of important tech-related decisions.
As the technology continues to mature, members of other departments are starting to realize BI's potential benefits when it comes to decision-making processes. In particular, big data analytics has rapidly gained popularity for that exact purpose.
"It plays a critical role in both product development as well as strategic planning for the leadership team in the company to have answers to certain questions to help them make business decisions," Arjan Vilkhu, SentrySafe's marketing research manager, recently told the Democrat and Chronicle.
Vikhu noted a number of ways big data is making a dent in the business sector. Perhaps its greatest value, though, is its ability to analyze in-house information, external data produced on channels like social media and mobile platforms, and bring the multiple resources two of them together.
Real-life uses being put to test
Skeptics might think that, while big data sounds great, there aren't a lot of ways these tools apply to them. They couldn't be more wrong.
Regardless of an organization's industry, data analysis has the potential to benefit them enormously. At the University of Rochester, for instance, scientists scanned billions of Twitter posts to accurately track the way diseases like influenza spread in different regions. On a completely different end of the spectrum, AviSmart Technologies CEO Marcia Olson suggested that salespeople at small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from big data's ability to turn website traffic into leads.
On a more universal level, a recent blog post on The Economist noted that the technology can be used to improve efficiency during the hiring process. Reviewing the seemingly endless pile of applications can be a nightmare for human resource departments.
But with the insights generated by big data, HR professionals would have a much narrower list to work with.
Using the right data is key
If there's any precaution companies need to take before delving into their big data plans, it will be making sure they don't get overwhelmed with the massive amounts of information out there.
"We've kind of run into the other problem, which is we have so much data that now it's still very hard to make decisions because you have an overload of data," Aaron Newman, CEO and founder of CloudCheck, told Democrat and Chronice.
Rather than using big data analytics solely to manage growing amounts of information, decision-makers should first lay out specific objectives they hope to accomplish from their big data-related plans. That way, they can tailor their strategies to meet these goals.