Why do you need Big Data Analysis?
Big data analysis has many purposes and goals, which can be summarized under three headings:
- Business: big data provide the ability to pursue new business models or to achieve a significant competitive advantage on the company’s traditional business.
- Technology: the size and complexity of the data require appropriate technology in order to derive value from it. In Part II and Part III of the book we will talk about available technologies in depth.
- Finance: several cases in which big data was used show that it brings economic advantages to the companies that have adopted such solutions. It is necessary, however, to assess in advance the costs of implementing these solutions. An important element to consider is the availability, on the one hand of technologies which use low-cost hardware, and on the other of cloud solutions which allow to minimize the initial investment. We will address these issues in the section about big data ROI.
For companies, the analysis of structured data (such as personal data of customers or prospect customers) and unstructured dataallow the creation of models that can analyze buying patterns, opinions regarding products, the company, or its competitors. The purpose of this analysis is to increase customer loyalty and implement policies for cross-selling of existing customers. As for the prospect customers, the goal is to enhance the activities of acquiring new customers through marketing efforts such as campaigns and targeted advertising, special offers, and so on.
Another area that shows great interest in big data is that of politics: Web 2.0 data, providing information on trends of thought of the masses can be used for market research that help to devise successful new products. They also allow to make projections on financial markets or even political elections.
Similarly, even governments, governmental agencies, and public safety services can take an infinite number of interesting information from the analysis of big data. The use of big data by intelligence services has to do with the automatic monitoring of contents, in any language or format, on websites and social networks, to search for possible threats to a country’s security. A similar activity is also interesting for the police who, monitoring web content, can draw useful information about the fight against crime.
Not only: in the public sector big data is also exploited for purposes other than the control of illegal activities. In this case the data to be exploited would not only that from the web but also the data from ministries, public services management offices (transport, energy, public companies or subsidiaries of the state) and statistical agencies (ISTAT or CENSIS in Italy). The enormous amount of data could be exploited (and in some countries already is) to monitor the performance of ministries, departments, and agencies, and to identify inefficiencies or wastage.