As businesses look for ways to gain deeper insight into their systems, processes and customers, the job of handling large volumes of data is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Being able to drill down and act upon big data is the focus of every cutting-edge business – whether it’s to improve productivity, gain a competitive advantage or drive revenue in some other form.

Fortunately, the new capabilities of analytics technology and machine learning are providing companies greater insight and actionable intelligence than ever before. Machine learning uses algorithms that “learn” from data and subsequently are able to unlock hidden insights without being explicitly programmed for where to look.

As a machine learning model is exposed to new data, it is able to independently provide a solution based of previous computations. This is contributing to the great analytics shake-up by helping companies to analyze data and apply findings in new and innovative ways. This new wave of analytics is having a profound effect on the way businesses are managing and responding to the continued rise of big data. Here are a few ways we’ll see this shake-up the industry over the next year and beyond.

Marketing to the Individual

Traditionally, companies have marketed products with a specific demographic in mind. This approach groups people into buckets and develops specific marketing programs for each segment. While this can be an effective approach, it doesn’t take into account potential customers who may not fall in the predetermined buckets. Through machine learning, businesses can see people beyond generic segments and target them as individuals – creating a “segment of one.”

Marketing to a segment of one is changing the industry in three distinct ways:

The Telescope Effect:

Just like the greater level of detail a telescope provides when looking at the night sky compared to the naked eye, new analytics software is able to drill down and identify more minute details giving greater clarity to the individuals being targeted and thus more effective marketing campaigns.

Drinking from the Fire Hose:

While businesses have previously struggled to grasp the vast amount of data and information being produced, new analytics software makes it possible for businesses to ingest larger volumes of data and process it in real-time. The more data a company is able to process, the better picture the company is able to create of its business.

The Blender Effect:

Because of new analytics software, different types of data can be blended together to help create a 360-degree view. This data can include video surveillance, voice recordings, social media and even unstructured date. A 360-degree view helps provide companies with a better understanding of all aspects of their businesses.

Solving Problems You Didn’t Know Existed

It’s easy to identify the things you know and the things you know you don’t know. But what about things you’re unaware of that you don’t know? Businesses can now address the “unknown-unknowns” with machine learning and new algorithms.

Analytics software is no longer hindered by individuals asking the right questions; the analytics shake-up is enabling software to identify relevant factors to determine both the question and the answer to a previously unidentified problem. With the right data being inputted and through machine learning, the software is able generate the right questions and answers.

Looking Outside for IT Support

Historically, businesses have relied on the data they possess within their four walls. However, external data sources are fast becoming the key to big data processing. Currently, the majority of the data needed to create actionable insights is derived from outside the company – such as seasonal data, web data and trends.

The challenge for businesses is how to extract and correlate this data in real-time. Advanced analytics software now makes it possible for businesses to incorporate external data sources and analyze these alongside any relevant internal data to create a greater and more holistic understanding of their business.

Additionally, analytics software that leverages external web data is proving to be invaluable in solving new IT challenges. Previously, IT support relied on in-house knowledge of how prior issues were solved. Now, sophisticated analytics software can match an IT error message by searching for specific keywords on relevant online message boards and websites. It can then prescribe the proper response to a problem – helping companies solve IT problems more quickly and efficiently.

Bottom line: Analytics software that aggregates a company’s internal data with information sourced from the Internet is not only revolutionizing the way organizations exploit big data, it’s poised to change the way they conduct business.

The Shake-Up Will Continue

Machine learning is empowering businesses by helping them to provide more targeted offerings and solve problems at a faster rate than ever before. Analytics software is continuing to disrupt the way business is done, and we will only see this continue as big data continues to get bigger and as smart machines get smarter.

Analytics will be a game-changer across industries as executives increasingly crave greater insight into their data and ways to make those insights actionable.

(About the author:Murali Nadarajah is Head of Big Data and Analytics for Xchanging, a multi-national business technology and services company. He has nearly 30 years of experience in professional services, big data, cloud computing, collaborative software development, systems deployment, and payment. He also holds several patents in collaboration and security).

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