While Internet companies may have jumped to the lead on Big Data, many other industries need to follow quickly, even those whose business is not threatened by Internet firms (present and future). The growing number of companies whose customers purchase their products and services over the Internet (and increasingly from mobile devices) will have a distinct competitive advantage if they can incisively analyze customer behavior on their sites and other data – and act on it quickly. Amazon.com Inc.’s ascension to a $61 billion in revenue over 20 years and Netflix’s decimation of Blockbuster Entertainment show how companies with superb Web data and analytics capabilities can elbow aside traditional players that operate too much on intuition.
Yet Amazon, Netflix and other companies are also showing what can happen when a company possesses much deeper insights on customers based on their digital habits: it can get into the product business itself (e.g., Netflix’s “House of Cards” TV series). Companies that don’t use their analytics to see the next great product or service opportunity run the risk of letting analytics-savvy competitors trump them in product innovation.
But bricks-and-mortar companies that don’t compete against internet businesses such as GE’s aircraft engines and turbines divisions believe they have an immense opportunity to use the internet and Big Data (especially unstructured data) to keep improving their products and help customers get more value from them. Companies that sell big-ticket purchases (to consumers or businesses), whose products’ performance must be frequently monitored to ensure they work, have a great opportunity. They can turn data that had been “external” (collected by customers) into “internal”.
By applying Big Data in the right places in the organization, centralizing and nurturing talent, and building bridges to functional managers who need data-driven insights to make superior decisions, companies will greatly raise the odds of keeping up in a world in which digital data-driven decisions become the norm, not the exception.
Big Data Study Implications & Recommendations