BFSI VISION Analytics News

Customer acquisition strategies drive big data analytics in retail
Source- Enterprise Innovation

With the ability to analyze large volumes of unstructured and structured data from a variety of sources, the use of big data in retail is getting big, spurred by the need to understand customer specific behaviors ad buying patterns.

New analysis from research firm Frost & Sullivan, "Big Data in Retail," finds that analytics will be applied in front-end as well as back-end applications in retail.

It said the aim of every retailer is to integrate data from multiple channels to provide an omni-channel experience for the customer.

"Omni-channel retail refers to the integration of all existing channels of customer contact to offer a seamless shopping experience," said Frost & Sullivan ICT Research Analyst Shuba Ramkumar. "Dealing with channels as individual siloes will lead to inaccurate understanding of customers and ineffective decisions. Combining insights from assorted channels will provide a clearer picture of the overall business."

Processing data real-time and using predictive modeling provide actionable insights that help acquire new customers and retain existing ones. However, retailers are also wary of the technological and organizational hurdles involved in implementation, the research firm said.

"Data analytics in retail involves the study of consumer behavior by collecting data points when they shop online on their computers or mobiles or when they walk into a store," noted Frost & Sullivan ICT Lead Consultant Martin Hoff ter Heider, "Sending customized offers or marketing messages related to their behavior, though useful, can be discomfiting."

The challenge for retailers is to respect consumer privacy while making it worth their while to allow retail data monitoring.

How big data has become accessible to everyone
Source- VentureBeat

It's been the narrative of technology since the wheel was invented. Something is new, exciting and expensive. Then we find a way to mass produce it (or something similar). Processes get better, and equipment gets cheaper. Consumers save big. Then something new comes out.

When big data first rose to market prominence, critics were quick to pounce on the same tired old complaints — it's too expensive, too insecure, too volatile. We don't know if it will work. We don't know if it will make any difference. It's just too complicated. But data scientists, like their forebears in all realms of discovery and research, turned a deaf ear to the naysayers. They kept working, they kept learning and they kept getting better.

Today, the marketplace is enjoying the fruits of the established connection between increased data (thanks mobile!), better math, and increasingly cost-effective data storage options. Data scientists can capture more information, understand it better (and easier) and they can store more information — and hold onto it longer — than they could before. These innovations have led to incremental increases in the benefits enjoyed and diverse results gathered from big data.

Now it's not only the data scientists who are paying close attention to the progress of big data analytics. Business analysts, prognosticators and serial entrepreneurs are digging into the data and finding their own personal pots of gold at the end of a very long and complex data rainbow.

Advanced analytics mean that businesses can better understand their customers and prospects. Instead of carpet-bombing advertising campaigns, they can launch "smart bomb" adverts and build websites that customize themselves for every new visitor.

Internally, businesses are enjoying better and smoother human resources operations. They are finding better fits for positions early in the hiring process. They are tracking how workflow and environment impact their profitability and acting accordingly.

History tells us technology will continue to be refined, making data analysis — and its myriad benefits — better, smarter, and faster. Thinking machines are already moving beyond gathering and collating data to crunching and making connections. Not too long ago, IBM's Watson was a sideshow anomaly competing on Jeopardy. Today, thinking machines are turning data gathering into a growth industry.

What will tomorrow bring? We can't say for sure, but we do know big data will be in the driver's seat.

Demand for big data and skills shortages drives wages boom
Source- Financial Post

Rising demand for big data expertise in retail, banking and finance has created a severe skills shortage that is allowing tech professionals to command more than double the average national wage for their services, research has found.

Britain is expected to create an average of 56,000 big data jobs a year until 2020, according to a report by the Tech Partnership employers' network and SAS, a business analytics company.

The demand for big data professionals has already pushed their average salary to £55,000 – 31 per cent higher than the average IT position. More than three quarters of posts are currently considered "fairly" or "very" difficult to fill.

The big data industry has thrived as sectors as diverse as weather forecasting and fraud investigation have realized the business benefits of using consumer data to predict future trends.

Financial services are the most commonly cited employer in big data advertisements, accounting for about 20 per cent of all positions in 2013. Uses of data analytics include counteracting fraud, price modeling and risk management. Banking was mentioned in 5 per cent of adverts and the gaming and retail sectors in 4 per cent.

Mark Wilkinson, managing director at SAS UK & Ireland, described big data as the "new oil" that will power the future information economy and suggested that skilled analysts would act as refiners by extracting the valuable insights. He added that the need for expertise will increase as the "internet of things" – connecting vehicles, household appliances or clothing to the web – takes off.

However, Niel McLean, director of education at the Tech Partnership, said it was still difficult to persuade the new generation of young tech employees to acquire the skills necessary to become big data experts. "There's plenty of restaurant critics who couldn't cook a meal and it's a similar situation with new technology users," Mr. McLean said.

"You can be a highly effective consumer [of technology] without having the skills to be a producer." This summer, coding was introduced into the national curriculum in an effort to encourage more creativity in computing studies. Tech experts had been campaigning for several years for a more up-to-date approach to IT teaching, which would help foster more entrepreneurial attitudes. But Peter Glover, a senior researcher at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, said big data jobs were hard to fill because the knowledge and combination of expertise required went far further than standard coding.

"Software programming is quite popular as a future career choice [among young people] but when you get down to data analytics it's much harder," Mr Glover said. "You're looking for someone who can combine a range of competencies from data science, coding, adeptness at maths and problem solving, even to get to the first level."

The research showed a wide regional variation in demand for big data jobs. Between 2012 and 2013, 96 per cent of all advertised big data positions were in England. Of these, 63 per cent were based in London, followed by 12 per cent in the southeast, 5 per cent in the northwest, and 4 per cent in both Yorkshire and the southwest. Scotland's demand was even lower at 3 per cent, while Wales and Ireland together accounted for 1 per cent.

Next-Level Big Data: Advanced Analytics Adds Future Insights
Source- Midsize Insider

As midsize businesses aim to make faster and smarter decisions, they will rely on the benefits of "advanced analytics." A subset of big data, this practice is becoming a high priority for firms today, according to Gartner.

New Analysis
Advanced analytics — a grouping of future-oriented analytic techniques — offers targeted data insight that can help shape business strategy. Gartner reports that this type of analysis is "the fastest growing segment of the business intelligence (BI) and analytics software market, and surpassed $1 billion in 2013," according to Information Management.

Experts say that although these techniques have been used in the market for two decades, they have gained traction during the last few years as businesses have realized how beneficial they could be for functional productivity. Firms are learning that they need to have a better grasp on their data in order to make smarter decisions in the long term, and that requires efforts beyond traditional BI solutions.

Delving Deeper
Advanced analytics delves deeper than basic analytics. With the right solutions in place, companies can act on the "why," which allows them to understand potential outcomes and evaluate how issues can be addressed. This kind of intuition uses mathematical principals, intelligent algorithms, data mining and granular data analysis. Armed with that data, a firm can identify when they can capitalize on those outcomes and predict future impact.

Midsize organizations across industries can optimize the use of today's advanced analytics to drive innovation and revenue growth, because it allows them a certain kind of foresight. For example, Gartner pointed out how clinical diagnosis applications can use analytics to advise patients on the right treatment. Smaller firms that are seeking to deploy analytics in these new ways can turn to trusted big data management vendors to ensure that the right information platform is built to scale with the expansion of their business. These firms cannot afford to waste time and budget on mistakes. In fact, the biggest challenge for IT professionals dealing with big data is finding the solutions that integrate and align that data with actionable insights.

The Future of Analytics Big data is on the rise, and advanced analytics is taking center stage in helping firms reach their business goals. With the right help, midsize firms can anticipate and respond to changes faster by taking advantage of these emerging opportunities.