Huge data sets, enthralling analytics, complex and diverse data sources are hot cakes these days. But it is so very important to understand that big data is nothing without data processing. Organizations and enterprises are easily getting carried away in the hype of big data. Irrespective of the industry, whether it is a travel and hospitality, retail or eCommerce; only processed and managed data can lead you to a state, where big data is knowledge with action. Accurate & appropriate data processing is the key to success of any big data project, as they both go hand and hand.
Structured or unstructured data on its own; is practically of no use at all. Just a huge set of number with no context, its value is realized only in accordance to the final outcome in form of improved decision making and performance.
i.e., your tours and travel company is planning to attract more and more travelers for a Mauritius trip, and you design a marketing campaign around it with help of big data. However; the feedback forms that you got filled up by lot of your customers are lying around in silos, as your in-house staff and the management both, feel that data entry of these feedback forms is a time consuming task and instead, they should be focusing more on the core business activities and not a back office initiative like this one. However; if the data entry of feedback/survey forms is not done appropriately and accurately, what data would you use to design the marketing activity as a part of the big data initiative? And even if the data entry is done, but not accurately, you are certain to reach out to wrong customers, wasting your time, energy and efforts.
You might have heard of the saying “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket”. This stands true for companies and enterprises every size and every industry. Using big data initiative to develop promotional strategies based on customer preferences, trends, and customized offers, on the basis of mismanaged data, could be the biggest blunder one can commit. It stands true at least for the unstructured data, the one that is collected manually. Though data collected through advanced technological gadgets, scanners and wearables is structured, manual intervention is still required to process them to meet customized data requirements.
A retail or eCommerce company may find it to be a lucrative option to go ahead and use the big data initiative to develop promotional strategies based on customer preferences, trends and customized offers. We are referring to comprehensive data processing and management activities for a retail store which includes Order / Invoice Processing, Document Processing, Catalog Processing, Product Management, Finance and Accounting (FAO), Store Operations Management, Survey / Feedback Form Processing and many more.
For eCommerce stores it could be Online Store Data Management, Collection of Product Data Specifications, Catalog Processing, Bulk Product Upload, Product Data Entry / Processing, Product Data Classification, Product Data Migration, Order / Invoice Processing etc. The base of all these activities is “Data Entry”, required to put the right data in the right format in right time – every time. Marketers; No – It is the Data that Transforms Business Critical Practices for Customer Centric Campaigns.
It’s like you are driving the costliest car, equipped with numerous dashboard displays that show the performance of the vehicle and the journey as a whole. Big data, in this example, is the dashboard displays, and data entry and data processing are the sensors which supply details to be displayed in the display.
Your focus is only on the dashboard, which inevitably is displaying incorrect numbers due to the inaccurate vehicle tuning, trust me you are headed for a disaster. You may let go a sigh that says “last fuel for 100 miles”, which is incorrect as the sensors in the fuel tank are not fine-tuned, it can lead you to big trouble.
In the same manner, organizations and enterprises need to ensure that they first have their in-house data in place, before opting out for the big data initiative. In its simplest form; big data is nothing else but a huge collection of facts and figures used for graphical presentation of reports and analytics in form of charts and graphs and much more. Answer a simple question for yourself; if the data entry of invoices is either not done, or appropriately not done, will it create huge fissures in the supply chain management or not ?
Therefore; it is advisable to link any big data initiative with data processing. Unless you link your big data initiative to data processing and management, with data entry as an integral part, it won’t deliver the expected results that companies are demanding.
About Ritesh Sanghani