What’s New in Business Intelligence, From Mobile to Big DataApril 1, 2014 By Nagendra Sastry
Today, business intelligence and data analytics are much more forward-looking and predictive. Rather than focus on the past, we can use data to forecast what will likely happen in the future and how customers may act. The variety and volume of data being generated in rapid fashion require a shift in how the data is stored, handled and analyzed in order to leverage it effectively. In this article, some of the newest features of data storage and analysis will be discussed, as well as why these tools are important for helping you create targeted marketing efforts that drive sales.
1. In-Memory Analytics: This is an important concept that is critical to understand in an era of big data and fast analysis. Where and how you store your data is important. Analyzing big data that is stored on a hard disk is time-consuming, slow and does not support the rapid-fire decisions needed for today's marketers. In-memory analytics means the data is stored on a computer's RAM (random access memory) rather than a hard disk. This allows the system to run algorithms more quickly and get results faster. Due to the availability of cheap memory, it is now possible to perform analysis in near real-time. For example, when a customer is purchasing an item and using a loyalty card, in-memory analytics can help the marketer run an analysis to quickly determine which product offers to attach to the receipt for the customer's next visit. Faster analysis means fewer missed opportunities to capitalize on customer behavior as it happens.
2. Leveraging Mobile: Some of the world's most cutting-edge marketers are leveraging the Wi-Fi signal from a customer's cell phone in order to better understand how the customer moves about the store, as well as where and when the customer purchases items. Even more specific data can be gathered if that customer is a member of a loyalty program. For example, if the customer used his or her phone to register or log into a loyalty program app, the marketer may recognize that device when it enters a restaurant and begins transmitting a Wi-Fi signal. The data on a customer's purchasing behaviors and movement throughout the restaurant can then be integrated with the historical and demographic data already known about the customer to create a more customized line of offers targeted at him or her, even while that person is still seated. This data gleaned from a mobile device can also help companies determine where to place products and the best store layout for maximizing purchases.