How Are Companies Using Big Data?

The question of how to use big data is a common topic in business magazines today, and typically the focus is on marketing. It's true that using data in marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to leverage the information that big data provides. But it is helpful to take a step back and realize that big data is useful for more than targeted marketing campaigns.

It is important that today's Professional Master of Business Administration programs introduce their students to a wide variety of uses for data. Online MBA programs that emphasize business analytics teach that there is a range of applications for big data that businesses should consider. Using that perspective, below are some other uses for data in different business settings.

Customer service

Have you ever called a phone company's customer service center and had to repeat your phone number several times? It is a maddening experience and one that can be avoided with the right use of available information.

Savvy companies are providing customer service representatives with a complete picture of the customer they are trying to help over the phone. If you call, for example, you will find yourself speaking to a representative who is immediately familiar with your account and purchase history.

Not only does this big data strategy help solve customer service issues more quickly, it builds brand loyalty, which improves customer retention and profitability.

Increasing efficiency

When business leaders explore the best applications for information in their organizations, they need to think beyond customer analytics. United Parcel Service (UPS) is one company that has compiled “big internal data” to improve its efficiency.

UPS has outfitted its famous brown trucks with sensors that stream critical information into its database. Its big data strategy includes analyzing this information to determine the best routes and best ways to schedule runs in order to reduce fuel consumption.

Predicting trends

Knowing what your customers need today is fine, but knowing what they will need tomorrow is what creates industry leaders. Some experts who are charged with the task of exploring how to use big data in creative ways are combining data groups to make predictions.

The fashion industry is one sector where this is becoming increasingly important. Fashion industry leaders are looking at their customers' interactions and individual preferences to understand them better than ever before. This gives them valuable information such as:

  • Designs and colors likely to perform best
  • Store locations that are ideal for certain items
  • Items that should be sold next to each other

Applications are limitless

Industry leaders are learning how to use big data in new and creative ways virtually every day. Whether it is for improved marketing, more efficiency, product development or staying ahead of consumer trends, making smart use of big data will add dollars to the bottom line.

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