You're hearing the term "big data" used more and more frequently by more and more people — in business, in academia and even in the arts. So why, now, is there this seemingly sudden interest among trading partners? After all, this data — these petabytes of information — have been extant for some time. So again, what's the big deal?
What has happened to drive the (re)discovery of this inexhaustible and invaluable resource is the arrival, finally, of the cloud-based technology necessary to immediately sift, sort and stratify this gigantic mass of information and supply "refined intelligence" to the people and organizations prepared to use it.
The application by marketers of real-time analytics to the voluminous customer data arriving via a multitude of touch points and channels (social, POS, loyalty, etc.) is enabling them to respond to customer demand signals with targeted, timely promotions that engage recipients as never before. (This increased visibility into buying behavior has significant implications for the supply chain, as well.)
Developing a system, however, for capturing -- truly understanding — and effectively leveraging this data is not an easy undertaking. It requires much more than simply studying TLog summaries or counting website click-throughs. With the advent of "omni-channel shoppers" looking for deals (and making purchases) both in-store and online, creating and distributing data-driven promotions that result in conversions requires constant monitoring and assessment of shopper behaviors, influencers and the performance of programs already in place.
Still, with expectations increasing among consumers that retailers and brands should be more attuned to their needs and preferences and execute proactively in anticipation of these, trading partners have little choice but to invest in the services and systems that enable detailed analytics and customized outreach. Failure to do so will put the reticent "behind the times" and behind their competition.
I'd welcome your thoughts on the topic. Please leave your comments below.