Functional Big Data – Turning Digital into a Competitive Advantage

90% of the world’s data was produced in the last two years, With all the advancements that have happened in that time, it can sometimes seem like the 2200 of Science Fiction novels is actually only a few days away.

Businesses need to keep up; if they don’t start evolving now they are going to be left behind.

Think of it this way. How many of the companies that are part of the Fortune 500 today were around ten years ago? Now reverse that – how many of those companies that were around 10 years ago are still on the list today? To avoid becoming one of the lost, companies need to evolve with the times. That means finding ways to make Big Data work for you.


What exactly does that include? At its most basic, Big Data is Unstructured Data.


We’re talking bits and bytes here; pure, technical data. The question is, why should businesses care about analyzing unstructured data?  The answer is because it provides their sales and marketing teams with an advantage and an opportunity they couldn’t have even dreamed of 10 years ago.


Everytime that you do anything on the internet, that information can be stored. Because of things like online shopping and Social Media, people are offering up so much more information about themselves than they used to.

Big Data is collecting all that information that people are voluntarily offering about themselves on the internet. The amazing part is what companies can do with that information.



Businesses need to use Big Data because it allows them to create a customer profile that they could only have dreamed about 10 years ago.

It allows companies to understand the psychology of what makes you, YOU!

It all comes down to the client record, customer profile, consumer identity; call it what you will. Essentially, this ability to take unstructured data and turn it into usable customer information has allowed companies for the first time ever to strip away all the noise, and get down to the main wants and needs of individual customers.

A data scientist is far better equipped to tell you the how but the short version is this: by pinning your online activity to your customer profile, a company paints a picture of what you want or need based on what you have historically wanted or needed.

Think about that for a second. You walk into a store and your gadget of the day lets the store know you are there. The salesperson gets a message saying you are there and today you are 90% likely to buy that new television you’ve been eyeing. How fast can they run over to you? That technology exists!

By hiring a group of employees to use this unstructured data, companies are going to no longer need to rely on third parties to give them customer data – they will be able to do it themselves. That means cross industry changes and the restructuring of niche markets.


Marketing departments the world over should be drooling with anticipation.

Efficiency in marketing is about to spike the same way assembling cars did with the advent of assembly lines. The possibilities a detailed customer profile can give to marketing professionals the world over is nearly limitless, but it is efficiency that is the real internal selling point.

Amazon is already capitalizing on this. Check out our Blog on their Anticipatory shipping model HERE, but essentially what they are doing is this.


Image from the Amazon Anticipatory Shipping Patent.



Amazon is using their customers unstructured data to predict what they are going to buy before they even buy it. They have patented this technology, so if this pans out it will be a advantage strictly given to Amazon.  Functional Big Data – Turning digital into a competitive advantage.


The ramifications are huge! For any business, if your competitor is doing this, think of the disadvantage you’re at. Your rival will know more about both their and your potential customers than you do.

Consider this example: Person A goes online to book his dream vacation – and uses two sites. One that uses big data analytics, and one that doesn’t.

On the site that doesn’t, he might package the whole thing together, be ready to buy, then get distracted and decide to put off purchasing for another day, if ever.

The company utilizing big data – Person A signs in and before even finishing selecting the package, this fictional company will get an alert saying Person A will buy this today if we get on the phone with them. The phone rings, or the online chat pops open and it’s a sales representative from the site, saying can we help you put this package together. That’s competitive selling in 2014.

The social media site LinkedIn is already using this technology – opening up chat windows in real time if you are scrolling on their help pages, or looking to make a purchase to a higher monthly package.






Guest Blogger: Andrew

Andrew is one of the newest members of Planet4IT, but he brings with him a fresh new perspective.

With one eye on the job market and the other on the IT world, he’s the man to go to for information on how the latest advancements in Data, Digital Marketing and Social Media are effecting business.

Andrew encourages you to reach out to him through not only telephone or email, but LinkedIn and Twitter as well



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