The first thing we should do before going any further into this topic is to give a definition of big data. In short, it is the analysis of data that comes in such large quantities that it needs algorithms and formulas to be understood. This data is becoming ever more important for business of all sizes and types of products and services. Another definition could be that big data is a very large data configuration that can be looked at and scrutinized with computers and programmes in order to see associations, patterns, trends that are related to human behavior and interactions.
Big data is the new thing that is taking up budgets and meetings in the corporate world, and this time we have some trends that are very important to be aware of if you want your company to grow or to be at the forefront of your market share.
Predictive and Location Data integration.
When we talk about prediction we are talking about how can things happen and not even what may happen. Everything can be predicted with analytics, even correlate the weather changes with buying patterns in communities which in turn can help shops and retailers get ready for any season to come.
And the not so new trend, location analytics, which helps businesses get very valuable information to understand their customers. Take for example a telecommunication company that can now understand their network better and offers a new range of products based on what they call “daily grinder” locations. Or a retailer that can have access to so much information from customers that they can use it to optimize product and promotion placement.
For supply chains, this becomes very important as they can manage their products and get information about every little movement that the product makes along the supply chain. With this information, companies can understand where and when the customers are buying and focus their efforts on specific market segments.
Giving more importance to security
Recently, cyber-attacks and hackers have put the world under very weird pressure. Many big government companies have been under attacks from hackers and they have exposed confidential information as easily as possible. It all may seem like a Leonardo DiCaprio movie but nowadays information has become so important to companies that it could easily be their most valuable asset. For example, Facebook and Twitter use data that comes from their users to grow the social network. And in turn, companies use such platforms to reach their clients and to target their market better.
So protecting the users’ data will become very important to companies that need such information. That is only one example of why Big data will be important on the corporate security issue.
Supply chains will become ever more secretive as customers will become similar to “members” of clubs and will get direct benefits form companies. Their information will be more valuable because being one step ahead of the competition can mean that our products arrive first to the user.
At the moment big data platforms are not designed to support and to handle all the information that is being fed to them. In the supply chain world information is the key to knowing what is happening to our products, so being able to process and analyze such information in real time will be the key to be one step ahead of the competition. Real-time analytics is not a strange area that has not been explored, but now it has to be applied to supply chain initiatives and this requires fast real-time information and high investments in hardware and software from the companies. It will become an asset that more and more brands will be happy to pay for.
In the Procurement area within companies, it is known that almost 50% of a company’s expenses are not well categorized and have no internal and real relation to internal costs. This big data information will need to be connected and analyzed as fast as possible in order to reduce expenses that are not necessary along the supply chain.
Warehouse management has been greatly impacted by real-time analytics and with the internet of things. This, in summary, is the applicability of real-time analytics for customers and companies with examples such as extended sensors, connectivity, and intelligence to material handling and packaging, shelf sensors and many more.
Finally, a trend that many companies saw coming due to the novelty of the topic is the shortage of skilled professionals in the big data area and that in turn affects companies because they will have to wait until the next generation. Supply chain departments will have to hire experts in big data analytics as soon as possible and the shortage will be felt here as well.
Be sure to read this post on big data for small businesses
* Featured Image courtesy of Kevin Krejci at Flickr.com