Gartner predicts that 4.4 million jobs will be created around big data by 2015. Consider that right now there are almost 4,000 jobs open in San Francisco alone for data scientists. Retailers must be prepared to shift budgets to compete with the Googles and Amazons of the world to hire these data-focused team members. Most importantly, they must look for the right type of talent. Retailers who are succeeding are those using smart data management tools to empower fewer, higher-level analysts with a keen understanding of correlations between data sets and overarching business applications, not those who have 10 analysts crunching data all day with limited business insight.
Looking as far out as 2015, Gartner predicts that 85 percent of Fortune 500 organizations will be unable to exploit big data for competitive advantage. This means the vast majority of organizations will allow that valuable commodity to sit below the surface and won't be prepared to take action on it to grow their businesses. And unlike big oil pools that can sit silently building value for decades, big data has a shelf life that must be tapped now to uncover its value. With that, innovative retailers will continue to outpace and outsmart their larger competition by using their synced data to take actions that make their customer experiences better and their businesses more profitable.
Big data, just like petabytes or exabytes, can be a nebulous concept to grasp and incorporate into business planning. That said, consider these very specific outcomes that retailers have seen in the past year when they began to sync, correlate and take action on their data sets:
- By taking action on its web analytics and inventory data, a leading department store determined that solving the issue of consumers viewing products that had no stock availability could create $200,000 worth of revenue.
- By matching up order data and CRM data, a high-end retailer discovered that nearly 2,000 VIP customers hadn't made a purchase in the last six months, and by reaching out to them via email, it generated $225,000 in revenue.
By managing, hiring and taking action on this new natural resource, retailers can build the foundation for years of success with the oil that never runs dry — big data.