We are living in the information age. Technology has allowed us to capture vast quantities of data about virtually anything. The internet and the fact that computer processing speeds are doubling every two years – according to Moore’s Law, devised by Gordon E. Moore of Intel in 1970 – has made the volume of data and speed at which it is generated soar. Now we are tapping into how this information can be interpreted to make predictions and inform decisions – making the difference between a financially mediocre year and an exceptional one. Data analytics is one IT news trend that needs to be followed.
Technology allows us to capture huge quantities of data about almost anything.
Data mining is a hot IT news topic. Data – facts, text or numbers – can be garnered from almost any online source: from website traffic to a Point Of Sale system in a restaurant. The types and quantities of a specific dish or bottle of wine can be recorded over the course of a day, month or season and compared with each other. Scanners at supermarket tills record everything sold, when it was sold and where. And the browsing habits of millions of people around the world are being tracked to make online advertising more and more personalised.
Large quantities of data need be analysed in-depth in order to become useful.
Big Data must go hand in hand with high-performance analytics: another hot topic in IT news. Terabyte upon terabyte of captured information is meaningless without high-performance analytics software to separate out the relevant from the irrelevant. In addition, this must be done in real-time so that quick decisions can be made in response to sudden changes in the business environment. The raw data is interpreted to show patterns like whether a certain wine sells more when a particular dish is ordered in a restaurant. Or how the time of day or month affects the popularity of specific beers. UCLA’s Anderson School of Management cites the example of a US supermarket that used Oracle – which offers a huge range of data mining and business analytics services for multiple industries, as well as Retail Cloud Services – to interpret their data. They discovered that Thursdays and Saturdays were peak days for when fathers came in to shop for nappies. Along with the nappies, they stocked up on beer for the weekend. With this insight, the supermarket could decide whether to move the sign for beer closer to the nappies or offer a Thursday-only special.
Data analytics lets you make decisions that will impact your bottom line.
With highly intelligent conclusions drawn from your data, everything from budgeting to forecasting and ordering inventory can be made more efficient. This will make cutting costs and generating revenue a whole lot easier. What’s more, it can also help to inform marketing campaigns based on detailed information about your customer base – evident when you look at the level of personalisation of the adverts on your search engines and social networks. This is thanks to data capture and analytics – probably one of the key pieces of IT news today, and for the foreseeable future too.
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