At its core, big data is the capture, filtering, and management of huge amounts of data that is transformed into an easily useable format. This information then informs ongoing decisions about products, services, logistics, and workflows.

The potential benefits are huge. Want to gain insight on how to improve your products? Tap into social networks and listen to what people are saying your product is missing. Looking to find inefficiencies in your logistics operations? Harvest and mine existing internal data that can uncover better ways to organize operations. Need to improve access and indexing of useful institutional knowledge? Digitize and classify the disparate data within your organization through automated processes so workers have data that cuts across silos.

Challenges of managing big data

The benefits of big data and the results you can expect have been proven time and again. But that doesn’t mean it comes without significant challenges to existing infrastructure. From identifying information sources, storing, archiving, and indexing the data appropriately, and ensuring the proper workflow processes are in place, managing entire process can challenge even the most organized of managers. The cost to businesses is a huge amount of work hours dedicated to ensuring all of the data is organized, secured, and efforts aren’t being duplicated across divisions.

The impact of big data on the organization

On the front-end, or the forward facing portion of your company that interfaces with customers, the wealth of knowledge that you can gain from big data can inform decision-making processes in your company. This includes background on how and when your products are being used, the specific geographies or demographics in which you can find your customers, and how your customer service is solving issues and generating new revenue.

On the back-end, or the logistical side of things, the trends that you can mine from your own historical data can help determine how much inventory to keep on hand or which supply centers are most efficient. These insights can help you harness cost overruns or find cheaper alternatives to moving product from A to B.

But just having more data isn’t a solution in itself. You need to have more intelligent data and processes as well. Whether it’s looking at outsourcing your big data or business process needs to specialized organizations, or simply getting some help on retaining digital records so everything is easily searchable, you will have to engineer new workflow processes to manage the influx of data.

The next task will be to build or implement a system that can retrieve the indexed data and make sense of the trends that will emerge. After these workflow processes have been implemented to actually harness the data, only then will you be able to use this data to justify your decisions and take full advantage of what big data can bring to your business.

It all starts by optimizing your critical business information