Along with 'cloud technology' and 'Internet of Things', 'big data' is one of the most hyped tech phrases of recent times - but what does it actually mean, and how can your business put it to good use?
What is big data?
Essentially, the popular term refers to the increasing amount of data that is now available courtesy of the internet. It exists in a variety of formats, including numerical databases, emails, videos, audio and financial transaction recordings. However, whether companies are actually using this information for any real purpose is still a matter of some debate.
The role of big data in business communication
The advantages of analysing big data extend to almost every industry you can think of. Manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, retail and others all stand to benefit greatly from this information.
It's worth keeping in mind that big data is not only limited to improving external relationships between businesses and customers - it can also improve internal processes.
For example, a VoIP phone system can provide you with detailed information about call abandonment rates, the number of inbound requests at any time, as well as a range of other useful metrics. By breaking down this data, companies are able to identify their strengths and reallocate resources as necessary to fortify any weaknesses. Nevertheless, taking away usable information from the data is no simple task.
Why is it difficult to analyse big data?
For years, companies have been accumulating incredible amounts of information about the habits of their customers. However, despite sitting on a veritable gold mine of customer specifics, it has proven notoriously difficult for businesses to extract any sort of useful data from it.
This is steadily changing. As analysis methods continue to develop, businesses are increasingly able to not only collect the information, but also convert it into usable data that allow them to improve communications, marketing, research and development, alongside a host of other applications. The software that comes with some business phone systems, for example, is capable of automatically creating easily-digestible reports that provide detailed information about the company's communication processes at a glance.
Analysing big data in the future
In the next few years, big data will allow companies to shift away from the largely ineffective single customer view and tailor their products and services to individual users. Evidence of this targeted advertising - such as promotional offers based on a person's previous purchases or geographical location - can already be seen on many sites and search engines around the web. Methods of communication will continue to improve, ultimately allowing businesses across Australia and around the world to engage with their customers more efficiently.