Posted by:Shyam Sundar October 11th, 2012

Big Data analysis is creating new market opportunities and helping organizations boost their bottom line many times over. A recent report in InfoWorld reveals how big brands are using Big Data to retain customers, enhance brand repute, improve customer services, and increase revenue. Though Big Data analysis delivers big dividends, only 1 percent of companies are currently investing in it, says independent customer strategist Esteban Kolsky, because of the cost and infrastructural barriers. However, this could change as large players enter the fray to offer affordable solutions such as Google’s BigQuery online analytical processing (OLAP) Service and Intuit’s Mint.com.

Big Data Enables Customer Care Services

One of the most significant applications of Big Data analysis would be in customer care services. Support executives have to deal with customers directly. They are often at the receiving end of a customer’s frustration with a company, product or service.

Assume that a executive receives an irate call from a customer. He can access a dashboard that shows him the customer’s:

    • Previous shopping history with the business (over years)
    • Behavioral stats from previous service calls
    • Interactions, Likes and Comments relevant to the business (and competition) on social media websites such as Facebook or Twitter
    • Influence score (a measure of the customer’s ability to influence others in his network)
    • Shopping preferences from cookie information, etc.
This information will enable the executive to take an informed decision on how to appease the customer – offer a refund, discount on next purchase, or escalate to a higher up if the customer is known to be troublesome.

Big Data Empowers Small Businesses

Big Data analytics will be part of all businesses soon, helping businesses address the needs of customers more accurately and improve their own performance. Intuit’s Mint platform is a boon for small business owners, enabling them to compare their services with similar services in an area, city or on a broader scale. Intuit’s tool uses Hadoop, Voldemort and other big data technologies to deliver results that would otherwise be impossible for SMBs to obtain.

Big Data Prepares You for Market Opportunities

With Big Data analytics, businesses can take decisions on inventory, supplies, offers, and promotions. For example, festival time is big for retailers. If there is one branch that shows more Likes than another, the retailer can divert stock to increase sales. People start talking about big events much before the day. Mentions, likes and interactions on Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere can help businesses anticipate the crowd and stock up accordingly.

Big Hopes Ride On Big Data

The applications and advantages of Big Data analysis are proven and visible. But the cost and infrastructural barrier is high. Cloud-based solutions such as Google’s BigQuery service allows customers to run SQL-like queries against Google’s massive datasets without incurring heavy hardware or software costs. We can expect more solutions to enter the market for SMBs to latch on to the Big Data revolution.

Big Data is in its early days yet but its promise is already being realized. ‘Big Data’ will be a boardroom topic for a long time.

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