Has Predictive Analytics Come Of Age Thanks To Big Data?

workBig data analysis has now developed to the point where it allows companies to make accurate predictions about future trends. This is driving huge demand for data miners and analytics software experts in almost all industries. But is big data mining all it is cracked up to be, or is it just the latest must-have business fad? Can any company use data mining to generate sales and profits? Here we look at the potential of big data for companies of all sizes.

Big data analysis is an effective tool for almost all businesses but the quality of the results it generates depends on a range of factors. The Xconomy website warns against a generic, automated approach, commenting that companies planning to implement a predictive analytics strategy need ‘more than just technology (or episodic visits by management consultants) to establish and institute an ongoing solution’.

Big data in itself is not a fast track to success. Like all business tools it needs to be tightly focused on generating useful insights that can be translated into increased sales and higher profits. Without focus, data mining yields large amounts of information that don’t actually increase a company’s understanding of what drives its customers to spend money. For data mining to work, a company must have a clear idea of what questions it wants answering before it invests in analytics.

For a big data strategy to succeed it needs the support of the entire company. CEOs and managers need to understand the purpose of big data and have realistic expectations of what it can do. They must also allow their data miners the freedom to access all the data that a company generates and be willing to act on the insights that emerge, even if they are unexpected or disruptive.

Companies that use data mining effectively can detect trends and identify their most profitable customers and sales channels. They gain a competitive advantage over their competitors. While large corporations have led the charge, even small companies can use data mining to increase their marketing ROI and improve customer loyalty. As big data develops it is getting both more affordable and more sophisticated. Small firms can benefit by using their customer data to identify consumer clusters and create targeted offers.

Most people imagine that big data analysis is so complex that only software and mathematics specialists can use it effectively. However, big data depends as much on the interpretation of the results it produces as it does on the algorithms used to crunch the numbers. The big data industry is evolving fast and companies of all sizes can now harness the power of big data via third party software and services.

Companies that offer big data services generate useful results fast enough to impact a company’s bottom quickly. For small firms, software as a service (SaaS) solutions are a viable option that allows them to benefit from the power of data mining without having to invest in bespoke software and expensive hardware. However, even small companies still need to invest in staff training or in data experts who can interpret the results of data analysis and apply them efficiently.

Is your company looking for a data-mining expert to implement your predictive analysis strategy, or are you considering a career in big data. Get in touch with us at alan@isluk.co.uk today to find out how we can help you.

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