What is Big Data Analytics?
Also called business analytics, big data analytics is the process of examining large amounts of data to uncover hidden patterns, correlations and other insights. This analysis helps businesses discover trends and make informed decisions that lead to greater success.
According to a 2015 report by Forbes, 89 percent of business leaders believe big data will revolutionize business operations in the same way the Internet did. Where data was once scarce, now it's pervasive. The proliferation of mobile devices and social networks are the largest sources of new data, but sensors also generate massive amounts of new data, along with medical devices and other digitally connected machines.
Here are just a few examples of how big data is providing a competitive advantage, increasing profitability and enhancing operations in a variety of industries:
- U.S. retailer Macy's, Inc. adjusts pricing in near-real time for 73 million items
based on demand and inventory.
- A major fast-food company is training cameras on drive-through lanes to determine
what to display on its digital menu board. When the lines are longer, the menu features
products that can be served up quickly. When the lines are shorter, the menu features
higher-margin items that take longer to prepare.
- Express Scripts, a company that processes pharmaceutical claims, realized that those
who most need to take their medications were also those most likely to forget to take
their medications. So they created a new product: Beeping medicine caps and automated
phone calls reminding patients it's time to take the next dose.
- In healthcare, hospitals are adjusting emergency room staffing levels based on the frequency and proximity of key words in search engines (e.g. flu symptoms).