If you have any interest in following the trends of Information Technology, you would notice that the latest buzz is all about Big Data. What is this all about? Why do so many people care about Big Data? Let me try to explain it in layman terms.
Let’s say you have a regular grocery shop. How would you like to get a prediction of the things that the next customer wants. Would your business improve if the customer walks in and you have the items they want layed out in front of them. Let’s say they need something but do not remember about it when they came to you, but you know and have laid it out for them to see and buy it. Would that improve your business?
How does a small store accomplish this? Let’s say you have a regular customer who purchases definite set of items each time he comes and the moment you see the customer, you place some of those things ready.. Would that not improve his experience at your store and make him want to visit your store more often. Now let’s say you have somewhat friendly relation with a customer and you know of an upcoming life event like wedding or child birth in the family. When the customer walks in you could recommend items that would be useful considering the life event. Sometimes when someone buys stuff, you possibly can guess that the person might buy something else. Lets say, the customer bought a mobile phone. It is possibly that they would be looking for a screen guard. These are points you could use for increasing your sales.
Let’s take the example from a small store to a large web store like e-bay, etc. They get millions of users each day. How would they achieve the results that a local store owner could achieve by daily interaction. In this case, they would need to rely on the computer code to do what the local store owner could do with his observation and interaction. This is where big data and the field called data science come in. Such large websites generate a large amount of data at a very high speed. Earlier, people only analyzed transactional data, but that could only help analyze past trends, seasonal trends, losses, profits etc. To get the kind of information that we are looking at, these companies now needed to store people’s behavior while on their website. That increased the amount of data many fold, such that storing and analyzing the data was not just much more expensive, it was also not fast enough. Also, the risk of loss of data due to hardware failure was also immense. This brought in the era of Big Data.
With the emergence of Big Data technologies, organizations found it easier to store large amounts of data and analyze them. This brought in the new form of analysis called the sentiment analysis. This was where all non e-commerce companies also jumped into the bandwagon. With the emergence of social media and increase in internet usage, the companies could tap into the sentiments of the people. They analyze twitter feed or Facebook posts, likes etc. to learn about what people think about them, their competitors or about a particular event and can base their decisions on such commentary.
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