Big Data is the cornerstone of digital transformation
Published on : Tuesday 10-05-2022
Raj Ravuri, Director, Industry Advisor-Manufacturing, Salesforce India.
What exactly is Big Data? What actually is the difference between Big Data and plain Data?
Each day, data is generated at an astounding rate. From purchase transactions, internet search records, social media posts to GPS cell phone tracking, connected devices, climate sensors, digital pictures, and internal company information; we create a significant amount of data every day.
Big Data is an extremely large volume of data and datasets that is collected increasingly from new data sources. It is a tidal wave of data that is collected with every click of the mouse, social media page views, IoT sensor data from equipment, OTT audience content preferences, EHR (Electronic Health Records), biometric scans, weather data. What differentiates Big Data from traditional data are characteristics such as size, complexity, volume, velocity, architecture required, source from which the data derives, and methods used to analyse the data.
Big data is a collection of varied data sets. This data comes from data your organisation has collected internally from sources such as Customer service call records, Online shopping recommendations, Engineering 3D visualisation, Shop floor sensors, GPS Lat Long coordinates, Connected vehicle telemetry data, as well as social media interactions with your brand. Looked at as a set and cross-referenced, this data becomes “big data,” a source for analysis and prediction about customer preferences, usage patterns, and anticipated future demand
While traditional data analysis occurs after an event has taken place, which only helps organisations to understand the impact of the event over a period of time; Big Data analysis occurs in real-time, offering organisations a holistic and dynamic understanding of their strategies and requirements.
What is the relationship between Big Data and Digital Transformation?
Big Data is the cornerstone of digital transformation. It enables organisations to make informed decisions as they begin their journey towards digitisation of their processes. As companies embrace the digital first approach to business across sectors, data plays a key role in understanding customer insights to develop both long term and short term strategies.
Global spending on big data and business analytics hit $215 billion in 2021, driven by businesses’ desire for better, faster decisions, according to research firm IDC. Leveraging data for insights into everything from internal business operations to the customer journey is top of mind and of strategic importance for businesses. Big Data analytics makes analytical processes faster and more efficient, giving organisations a competitive edge, by advancing their risk management model, predicting consumer behaviour, and enhancing customer experience. Therefore, it is essential for businesses to adopt big data for successful digital transformation.
Our current environment has made digital transformation an imperative for companies to rethink the way they operate and consider all the opportunities to digitise their business for an all-digital, work-from-anywhere world. For many, this is the time to modernise technology stacks and invest in digitisation of their processes.
Data has been compared variously to oil (black gold) and also garbage. How to make sense between the two extremes?
Today, nearly three-quarters of Fortune 1000 companies have a chief data or analytics officer. But too many organisations build data capabilities that are not connected to critical business questions. As a result, business leaders (the ones who control budgets and organisational initiatives) wind up believing there is little value in investing in them.
Decision makers need to first answer the question around what they need to deliver better customer experience, service, or to launch new products or enter new markets. The next step should be to understand what data you need to answer those questions, and who needs access to that data.
The ability to access and understand data will yield faster and better informed decisions, and higher-performing, empowered, more agile teams. The good news is technology has made it possible to not only connect previously disconnected data sources, but also make it shareable, manageable, insightful and actionable to a much broader pool of stakeholders.
For instance, Lyca Mobile leveraged Salesforce (marketing cloud) to consolidate all customer data into a single view to achieve single source of truth for customer data. Previously, Lyca Mobile’s different channels of customer engagement were fairly siloed. Without a shared view of customer journeys, the teams couldn’t track which customers were receiving which messages on which channel. With the adoption of Salesforce, the Marketing teams across India and the UK now have a unified view of customer journeys across email, SMS, the website, and other touchpoints. With customer engagement becoming more targeted, conversions have increased by over 30%.
Razorpay on the other hand uses Salesforce to streamline and automate their sales activities. Merchants are now contacted within minutes of submitting their interest on the website, and the effective streamlining of this process has led to a 38% increase in conversion and 30% increase in overall efficiency of the sales team.
There are various tools and platforms claiming to provide the ideal fit for purpose. How should enterprises evaluate and select the right solution?
Today, more data is being created on a daily basis than ever before. In order to thrive in an all-digital world, it is important for organisations to be able to locate, decipher, and act on the customer data that is available. It has become imperative for organisations to use Big Data in order to stand out. It is also important for all organisations to evaluate and choose the right tools that align with their established goals.
● Develop a Long-Term Strategy: Big Data is not about the trends that we are observing at the present moment. Businesses need to focus on reinvesting this information into their core business processes. The tools, workflows, and software they implement should tell a story about their business’s growth trajectory and anticipated evolution over time.
● Execute Sooner Rather than Later: When choosing an analytics solution, it’s easy to get bogged down with endless planning cycles which is time consuming. However, there are radical, risk-reducing alternatives to the documented process, which can make change when choosing an analytics tool both faster and cheaper, such as analytics leaders being in a position to execute, testing free versions of tools throughout the research process, and collecting early feedback from team members who are testing out the software.
● Continue to Dig Deeper: Big Data analytics tools need to continue to evolve over time and with the business. It is important to dig deep into the analytics, beyond basic awareness. After businesses have chosen the right analytics tool, it is important to keep challenging the system. By tackling new business challenges, businesses can realise if their analytics software can keep up in translating insights into action.
How does 5G rollout change the landscape of Digital Transformation?
As 5G continues to build and roll-out, it will impact every industry, including retail, healthcare and manufacturing, empowering the next wave of digital transformation. The technology and its capabilities is touted to delight consumers and bring companies renewed growth and increased revenue streams.
While Covid-19 accelerated the need for improvements in network connectivity, bandwidth, and speed, a major benefit of 5G is the need to expand access to high-speed internet
5G’s impact on manufacturing: faster, safer, and more flexible
Today, manufacturers are increasingly leveraging advanced technologies, such as automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), and the Internet of Things (IoT), intensifying their digital transformation efforts. The advent of 5G will further these efforts as it enables manufacturing to become more connected, faster, and more flexible.
For instance, 5G speeds and bandwidth allows manufacturers to transmit more data, instantaneously, to analyse operations. By monitoring production machine performance in real-time, manufacturers can determine where to make improvements. An efficient supply chain will also help manufacturers track parts and supplies more accurately. Live monitoring of equipment will improve uptime, save resources and reduce waste. Additionally, 5G’s wireless capabilities will reduce factory cables and increase agility in reconfiguration.
Solutions such as remote video support can provide remote/smart hands on the shop floor, which will amplify specialists’ productivity and help to upskill line workers. Sensors and real-time data transmission also mean less staff required on the floor, thereby cutting down on production costs. These sensors also allow manufacturers to implement responsive emergency shut-offs, helping to keep workers safe.