A massive amount of data is getting produced each day and changing our life. This has invented a new term which the experts are familiar with known as “Big Data.” The total volume of information available is one of the many challenges in working with big data. There are many advantages that big data has to offer us; however, there is a threat with this data that gets overlooking by almost everyone.
The Advantages Of Big Data
Big or small, organizations gain incredible insights into user behavior, business performance, and market preferences with the help of big data. These insights enable companies to make intelligent decisions, better know their users, enhance business processes, boost revenue, and more.
There is one great instance that comes from Otto, a German retail business. As per the data, Otto’s consumers would typically not return the products within two days of arrival. In fact, they would wait for all the products to arrive and ship it all together to avoid separate shipments. Although this makes sense for users, but it is a considerable challenge for Otto. Because like Amazon, Otto sells items from various suppliers. Keeping every product in stock so that products can get dispatched together is a tall order. Big data enabled data from 3 billion previous transactions. The business could construct a predictive model that could assume with 90% accuracy that what consumers would like to purchase in another 30 days. Therefore, the right goods can get ordered before time. As a result, product returns have declined by over 2 million products annually.
Another instance is PepsiCo, where they used to generate sales of a new product-- Quaker Overnight Oats. The business could recognize the most valuable buyers to advertise the product to-- focusing 24 million priority households out of a database of 110 million homes. After a meticulously targeted launch campaign, these customers generated 80% of the product’s sales in the initial 12 weeks post-launch.
The Drawbacks of Big Data
There are many difficulties linked to big data. While working with business leaders helps them develop a data strategy, the first drawback they think of revolves around technology or skills. Meaning, without any technical groundwork, in-house knowledge, or massive budgets of businesses such as Facebook or Amazon, many organizational leaders think the benefits of big data are far from their reach.
But due to “big data as a service” (BDaaS), technology and skills cause less of a problem than thought of. BDaaS generally refers to the delivery of big data tools and technology-- and at times also the data itself --- via ‘software as a service” platform. This means that organizations can leverage big data tools without funding in costly infrastructure or new employees. With the advent of “off the peg data” and analytics tools, technology, skills, and foundation will become less intimidating hurdles to work with data.
Another challenge that the organization leaders cite with a good reason is data security. Since data becomes an increasingly crucial business resource, securing the data becomes even more critical. Hence, every big data company requires a vigorous data security policy in place, and should take necessary steps to educate workers on the prospective threats. Many businesses are even aware of this downside. But what are they less aware about?
One Downside That Fails To Get Recognized
There is one pitfall that many companies neglect. And that one is data privacy. For many years, there has been something revolving around Wild West culture regarding big data, with businesses playing quick and slow with confidentiality. In 2019, it was in the news that human analysts listen to people’s private Alexa interactions. Amazon is attempting to improve Alexa’s abilities, and well, that might be true, but so is the fact that others might hear Alexa recordings. This news brought an outcry in public, and Amazon offered an opt-out alternative.
This is one of the many examples of businesses taking ease with consumer’s information. There are those apps that request access to all your phone contacts. Social media networking sites use facial recognition tech on you and your mates outside your knowledge and businesses, preserving the right to share your private information to the third party. These are just a few examples; the list is quite long.
The European Union’s GDPR displays that data confidentiality laws are starting to be more strict, and will continue to do so. Irrespective of this, it is up to companies to sign an ethical and responsible approach to data confidentiality. With this method, companies can identify and protect individuals’ right to privacy and deliver transparency than that observed in the past. Since the fact is that, many of us are okay with parting ways with our valuable information when we are receiving something in return. Many Alexa users wouldn’t care about their conversations getting used to enhancing Alexa service, as long as they are aware of what they are signing up for and can drop out at any point. The problems occur when users can make an informed choice.
Failures and defamation always reached ears rapidly. In this digital era, a business reputation can go down in seconds. Businesses who don’t identify the significance of data privacy, risk a severe reputation damage, besides legal blowback and massive fines.
What can be done--- Solutions!
Data is a powerful thing. Here are some things to always keep in mind: you don’t overlook data privacy threats.
Be straight with your users and investors on what data you are gathering and why.
You must provide this information in a healthy way for everyone to read it, and not in those length terms and conditions that usually gets overlooked.
Provide a drop-out whenever possible.
Keep the user data hidden so that they cannot get identified.
Ensure users are aware of what they are receiving for giving up their information.
Big data is one of the significant innovations that will evolve the world. Nothing in the world comes with a clean slate and no adverse effects. The big data trend is going only to rise further; therefore, it is essential to take wise steps to save your business and your users’ information.