Home Blog 2019 How Data Can Give Companies a Competitive Advantage
Aug 7, 2019

Data: Your Competitive Edge

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The world is generating a gargantuan amount of data with some estimating 2.5 quintillion bytes are being created each day. This number is guaranteed to grow as businesses increasingly harness the power of the internet-of-things (IoT) to generate information that can be leveraged in the future to gain a competitive edge.

In fact, according to NPD’s B2B Distributor and Reseller Tracking Service, the business intelligence and database systems market (which is a component of the of the overall IoT ecosystem), grew 14 percent in the first 6 months of 2019 versus the prior year and 9 percent compound annual growth rate from 2016 to 2018. In essence, regardless of big data being an overused term these past few years, firms are embracing the trend and are trying to operationalize it throughout their organizations in multiple departments.

But which verticals, job functions, or departments are the most likely to take advantage of a big data strategy? Vertical markets such as financial services, federal and state government, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and hospitality are some of the most likely – as they are all dealing with massive amounts of data, being used for myriad reasons. As far as job functions, statisticians, mathematicians, and market research analysts are all highly involved in big data strategies – and these are roles that are expected to grow in the double digits over the next decade.

It’s no surprise that we use data for many things in hopes of creating a competitive advantage. In the case of retail, businesses are feverishly using analytics for price optimization, enhanced customer segmentation, in-store analytics, and product adjacency strategies. For example, in brick-and-mortar stores, some sales associates on the floor have metrics they need to meet and will sometimes work to up-sell customers by bringing them the item they asked for “plus” one to two similar items that are higher in price to increase the receipt size. Thus, retailers are constantly using analytics to tweak in-store, supply chain, and online activity. In the healthcare segment, a hospital has many departments that each work against their own metrics. Another scenario that business intelligence software can help to solve is in the hospital-acquired conditions (e.g., adverse drug events, infections, etc.) segment. To help avoid spreading illness to patients, business intelligence can help analysts look for correlations where medical equipment has been shared among departments that may have been exposed to infectious diseases.

In hospitality, a key trend is for hotels to embed a wireless charging device conveniently at the bar for consumers to charge their phones while eating and drinking. This device is generating additional data on the back-end and the hotel’s business intelligence team can use that data to understand how they can up and cross-sell additional services to the customer. For example, the analytics team might fuse the data generated by the device with their point-of-sale data, offering greater insights on why people might sit at one area of the bar versus another.

Companies are still determining the importance of data mining, which is a powerful tool that can drive competitive advantage in the future. For channel partners, the opportunity is in determining how companies are analyzing and operationalizing their data today that could lead to incremental sales of business intelligence and data base software, visualization software, all-flash arrays, and more that go hand-in-hand with a big data strategy.


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