Big data – it’s all the hype these days. But what is big data?
It’s much more than a buzzword. In fact, experts are calling it a $5 billion market that is expected to grow to more than $50 billion over the next five years. It is a market characterized by data that is known for its “volume, variety and velocity.”
As defined by TechTarget: Big data is a general term used to describe the voluminous amount of unstructured and semi-structured data a company creates — data that would take too much time and cost too much money to load into a relational database for analysis.
Newly emerging capabilities for storing, analyzing, manipulating and leveraging this data is what is driving the growth of the big data movement. Big data has the potential to change the way firms both small and large do business, and that’s why it’s one of the hottest topics shaping the technology world today.
It’s not just the big dog companies that are leveraging big data. Even small-to-midsize businesses (SMB) see the value of investing in systems that will make use of big data’s volume, velocity and variety to drive increased sales, innovation, agility and growth for their organizations.
Demand is rising for cost-effective platforms that can cleanse, aggregate and organize multi-structured datasets – ensuring that accurate contact information, detailed histories of products and services purchased, and even suggestions for related follow-on sales – are instantly available. Even further, these systems are capable of automating processes to enable these companies to more effectively reach out to customers to close a deal, making use of real-time data to ensure that the most up-to-the-minute information is being consumed and leveraged.
The Channel’s Big Data Role
As you go about mapping out your big data strategies, you would be remiss if you did not consider your channel partners as well as the data sources these parties rely upon day in and day out – such as ordering, sales and CRM platforms – to further fuel your initiatives. Some big data systems are already doing this in the form of cloud-based service contract management platforms that pull valuable data from across the supply chain, ultimately using it as the backbone of automated and enhanced global sales processes that generate millions of dollars in incremental revenue for vendors and their channel partners.
With its close proximity to the customer, the channel is well positioned to play an important role in the big data equation.
These innovative technologies are driving sales success with new-found ways to analyze customer buying patterns to predict what might be purchased next; to track product life cycles to understand the most optimum time frames for technology refresh sales; and to monitor service contract expirations to ensure timely renewal offers are made. Armed with this information, businesses have the capability to reach out to the right customer at the right time – using a sales pitch that is precisely in tune with the customer’s needs.
The Future of Service Revenue Growth
If you haven’t figured out where and how you can create a big data initiative for your business, there’s no better time than the present to determine your big data strategy. Make no mistake; your competitors are in the throes of it, which is why you need to dive right in. Invest the time and talent in evaluating a big data strategy for your organization. There are existing platforms and technologies available today that can help the big dogs and even the smallest companies get started. Reach out to your channel partners to find out how you can collaborate with them to put the most effective and comprehensive programs in place.
Once you get your big data initiatives rolling, you’ll find that it is like a crystal ball: when properly utilized, big data is capable of allowing you and your sales organization to see into the future – to know what your customers want even before they do.