Ignoring Big Data in your business means losing out on the enormous benefits of faster and better informed decision-making, said Mr Thokozani Patrick Mahlangu on Tuesday 8 May at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).
"Big Data enables faster and better decision-making because of its real-time nature. Decisions are made based on the "whole of the data" instead of a sample. Through computer-aided algorithms the data can be analysed quicker and a more accurate decision can be made. Furthermore, while traditional methods of handling large volumes of data can be very expensive, Big Data technology can assist in reducing the cost of handling the information.
"Businesses that use Big Data, particularly those in the retail sector, can increase their revenues and aid in reducing their operational costs. Through Big Data analytics, retailers can identify the products that are in demand – and those that are not, thus avoiding keeping them and reducing the inventory cost of products that are not in demand. Big Data can also provide better understanding of customers and insight," added Mahlangu.
Mr Mahlangu is a MCom graduate from the UJ School of Consumer Intelligence and Information Systems (SCiiS) and the marketing coordinator for the UJ School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH). He and Mr Musa Kalenga, a strategist and communication specialist, addressed a symposium on Big Data on Tuesday 8 May, at the UJ Bunting Road Campus.
How businesses can access Big Data
Big Data is readily available for tourism and hospitality businesses looking to improve their marketing, said Mahlangu.
"Consumers leave data trails throughout the different stages of the consumer journey. It starts at the problem recognition stage, where they are planning a holiday and do research online, for example. It continues up to post-purchase stage, where they share their experiences at the chosen holiday destination."
By analyzing this type of Big Data and drawing insights from it, it becomes possible to craft marketing messages based on the stage the consumer is in, he said.
"Most hotel groups in developed countries use Big Data to better understand their guests and offer them personalised services. Through the social media profiles of their guests they can tailor the look and feel of the hotel room of the guests, for example."
Fourth Industrial Revolution for your business
Concluded Mahlangu: "Big Data is a huge part of the fourth industrial revolution. For businesses to remain competitive, they need to invest in good Big Data analytics tools and a skilled workforce who can analyse the information for business intelligence that can be implemented."