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The Power of Big Data

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In 1854, John Snow used data gathering, mapping, and analytics to convince people that cholera was a waterborne rather than airborne illness.  Using evidence that he had collected, changes were made to the way water was distributed and in the end the disease was virtually eradicated in the UK.

This is an example of the power of Big Data (though there were other factors at play – John Snow’s determination notwithstanding).  When Big Data gets rationalised, understood, and visualised, it can make a real difference.

Today’s trend towards Big Data really started because lots of new ways have been found to collect data – we have more sensors, more cameras, more microphones, and more ways to access this information via mobiles and tablets than ever before.  And they can all interact with each other (see TSG’s COO Steve Cox’s post on The Internet of Things to see more about the future impact of this)

Big Data has been one of the biggest topics to be hyped in the IT world, ever.  But we are now starting to see how it’s less about experimentation, and more about business capability.  What needs to happen now is that the analysis of Big Data needs to become (and it is starting to happen) less of a specialist art.  It needs to be more accessible and usable to business decision makers.

At Microsoft we’re placing a lot of significance on Big Data; using insight applications that will allow you to analyse your business past from all your unstructured data and discover previously hidden patterns of customer behaviour. 

You will also be able to optimise your present by identifying where your current processes are letting you down, and the tools even have the capacity to allow you to predict your future by allowing decision making to be based on much greater analysis.  It’s business intelligence on a huge scale.

A really key aspect of Big Data is unveiling what might be currently hidden from your business analytics, purely down to the enormity of unstructured data that might be here, there and everywhere.

As an example of how we’re using Big Data analysis tools to help customers, we recently acquired Netbreeze to strengthen the social power of Dynamics CRM 2013 (this will be released as a free addition in the next version).  

Social media has changed a lot about how we live our lives today, and one of those is the way we interact with companies and brands.  It gives people a voice that they’re not afraid to use, so whether they have a good or bad experience with a company, the odds are they will tell the world using social media.

We’re giving companies a way to monitor all this conversation in a really structured way, and be able to listen to your customers better. 

Find out who is singing the loudest and who are your most loyal advocates, and then do something meaningful with this information.  Providing rich access to this data for your customer service, sales and marketing teams means that the right people are tackling the right subject matters with your customers via social media. 

We know that the majority of people who have a complaint against a brand feel more favourably towards them if they respond to them on social media, so in this internet age world where your shop is open 24 hours a day, being active on social media is something that all businesses should at least consider.

With more and more aspects of your business becoming reportable, it’s important to factor in how you’re analysing all the information you’re collecting, what it’s actually telling you, and then coming up with processes together with your people which allow you to act on this intelligence, for the benefit of your customers. 

Don’t let Big Data become a Big Headache; turn it to your advantage by breaking it down and identifying the things you always wish you could find out about your business.


See more: INFOGRAPHIC: Uncontrolled Mobile Devices - Are You Prepared?

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