Big data

A frequent question among non-experts is: “what are big data?”

Big Data are a large amount of data, numbers and statistics to be stored, managed and analysed. “Data” means text, images, video, audio and calculation elements. In order to exploit this huge amount of information, specific forms of reading, calculation and interpretation have been developed, which are superior to human ones.

Some examples of big data are found in the following sectors: banks, insurance, social media, manufacturing, large-scale trade and retail, public administration and healthcare.

Big data into companies

In a large or small company, the use of big data could turn into:

  • Mapping, organisation and verification of company data flows;
  • Study and analysis of data value for each business area;
  • Ability to analyse the customer experience based on customer data;
  • Ability to develop forms of interaction between the various corporate business areas in order to identify and create new opportunities for tactical (cross selling) and strategic (new products) development;
  • Ability to analyse data related to customers according to the development of new services or new products (“customer listening” is increasingly significant, by using social media to help companies to extend and deepen their customer knowledge, clients’ segmentation and behaviours);
  • Ability for the company to react quickly to market and society changes;
  • Greater understanding of how the market perceives the various brands;
  • Identification of the key factors that drive people to buy a specific service or product;
  • Demographic segmentation to customise various strategies to be implemented;
  • New feasible experiments thanks to the availability of new data;
  • Possibility of forecasting thanks to a large amount of historical data and wide-ranging and punctual information, that allow very likely simulations;
  • Enabling new business models.

Applications of big data analytics in management activities

Big data analytics is a topic of fundamental importance for those entrepreneurs who aim to improve the corporate organisation, develop solutions and actions that may bring to cost reduction, to a better knowledge of the customers and to develop new products and services.

Big data management is the understanding of data passing through the network and coming from an infinite series of sources. The purpose of big data management is to make them comprehensible and transform them into strategic actions to support the business. Among the sectors most involved in big data management, there are marketing and sales (87%), finance and control (77%) and supply chain (45%). The management of big data does not depend on the type of business as it can be applied in almost all areas. It represents a looking-forward approach for the management of information.

Big data: advantages

Big data bring different benefits in many sectors, such as:
  • Creation of new careers: big data play an important social role because they create new jobs;
  • Budget savings: big data allow budget savings in the Public Administration, and the optimisation of the tourist flows in the territory;
  • Monitoring of hydrogeological catastrophes: monitoring and management of natural disasters thanks to advanced analytics.