Big Data Will Create Millions of Jobs in the Next Two Years

As you are aware, governments, companies, and other organizations are increasingly recognising the value of Big Data.  For example, health organizations use data to manage hospitals and provide better patient care, and businesses use data to better understand their customers.  As such, it may not be surprising to learn that a study from Gartner states that Big Data will create close to 4.5 million jobs by the year 2015. With that said, unfortunately only just one-third of these positions will be filled by qualified applicants.  Fortunately though, as more user friendly interfaces are being developed to make data analysis more accessible, more people will become interested in this exciting field.

Job Opportunity Calssified

 

What Industries Will Be Hiring?

Some of the sectors that will require qualified individuals include the health care, retail, and manufacturing sectors.  After all, studies show that these organizations can profit considerably if these industries can effectively make sense of their data.

 

What Types of Jobs Will be Available?

Some of the positions that will be available include:

  • IT jobs – require people who can support the computer hardware and software involved with big data.
  • Analytical jobs – require people with analytical and statistical knowledge
  • Managerial jobs – require people who can use the data to make efficient business decisions.

 

 

How Can Schools Prepare People for a Career in Data Analysis?

Schools can offer more courses in statistics and data analysis – as well as offer more practical hands-on training.  Universities can also become better at sharing resources and can better work at developing relationships with companies.  In turn, students will be prepared for the workforce as their courses incorporate more real-world business data and relevant examples.

 

Overall, the future in Big Data and data analysis is promising, and forward-thinking individuals should seriously consider a career in this growing field.

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Retaining Customer Loyalty in a Cutthroat Market: Securing Your Customers at a Time When It’s Every Man for Himself

The current retail market resembles a landscape from the Mad Max movies; everywhere you turn, there’s some new threat, whether it’s a market-leader tightening their grip, or some young upstart—aggressive but short-lived—trying to steal your niche.  The hasty advancement of technology combines with recession-conscious spending to cause every retailer to lose their footing.  But now more than ever, retailers must stand firm, adapt their practices, and defend what they’ve spent years building.

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Tina Turner has always played a role in the retail industry

In recent years, the power is shifting to the hands of the consumers.  Social media has lent a megaphone to the voice of the customer.  Sites like Facebook and Twitter remind us of the old adage, “Do something right, the customer tells three friends, do something wrong, they tell ten.”  Reputations ebb and flow based on what your patrons are saying online about their shopping experience with your store.  And whether consciously or not, the general public is realizing their advantage by altering their purchasing habits.

 

Today’s shoppers are less likely to fall for gimmicks or accept bad deals.  If they have even an inkling that they’re getting cheated, they’ll flee; they know a better deal can be found by pushing a few buttons.  Any retailer that’s dead-set on sticking to their traditional strategies will find their customers slipping through their fingers.  The time has come to show humility and allow the customer to be king.

 

That means stepping up customer service.  Because shoppers have less money for discretionary spending, they are going to make the most out of what cash they have.  When they visit a store, they expect a pleasant experience—anything less will lose their business.  They are expecting the retailer to go the extra mile for the customer, and if it doesn’t, they’ll find one that will.

 

But there is another side to this coin.  If a store manages to give the customer what they want—a good deal with good service culminating in a good experience—then the customer will recognize and remember the effort.  A retailer’s hard work in providing the desired shopping atmosphere will be rewarded with their customer’s loyalty, a prize whose value grows higher as the competition intensifies.

 

And what does customer loyalty mean?  For one, it means that as a retailer, you’ve done your job.  You’re happy, your customer’s happy; they have the product they want and you’ve made some money.  But there’s more to it than that.  If you’ve set up the avenues for them, your customer may Like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, or even just mention online how happy they are with you.  That’s free advertising, any way you cut it.

 

But the real trophy of customer loyalty is repeat patronage.  Not every shopper wants to be continually searching and comparing pricing.  If you’ve proven to them that you can satisfy their shopping needs, the next time they need to buy something, they’ll think of you.  Customer loyalty is the gift that keeps on giving, even (or especially) in a dark economic times.  Isn’t that worth fighting for?

 

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New Cars An Example of Analytics In Action

It’s that time of madness every year when automakers launch their 2014 versions and offer “deals” on unsold new 2013 models.  That the industry remains reasonably healthy is a testament to people’s fascination with cars and style rather than with necessity.  No one really needs a new car every few years these days because they have been much better-made and longer-lasting for many years now.

 

Those of us my age (I won’t give it to you but will tell you that my first car–and it was more than 10 years old–was a 1949 Plymouth) remember when things were different.  That Plymouth burned a lot of oil along with the gasoline, and the clutch was just about gone when I was done with it.  It had less than 100,000 miles on it and it was pretty much used up before I even got to it.  I was still in high school when I bought it with my own money from working after school.  It lasted me less than a year and died a natural death from major engine failure.

 

W. Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming

The point of that those comments is that auto manufacturers, led by the analytics-based W. Edwards Deming Total Quality Management (TQM) movement of the 1980s and 1990s, now build cars that last a lot longer than when I was young.  Then, 100,000 miles was about the maximum you could get out of a car and the vast majority of them didn’t make it that far.  Today, vehicles that go multiple hundreds of thousands of miles quite easily are very common.  My son tells me of a fellow he knows who got 1 million miles from a truck and I have a nephew who has a Ford Ranger with more than 500,000 miles on it and he still uses it every day.  All brands of vehicles are much better today than they were when I was young and advanced analytics–done by hand under Deming’s TQM program, but now computerized–are a major reason.

 

Automobiles are one area where manufacturers have increased the quality of their products so much I’m sure it hurts their overall sales.  But they still do O.K., because there still are many people out there who just have to see (and often buy) the latest model.  They may look different on the outside–style is important to so many people these days–but they’re very similar underneath, solid and long-lasting.  Credit that to early advanced analytics.

–Warren B. Causey

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Can Big Data Help E-commerce?

While collecting data may be relatively straightforward, organizing and analyzing this data can be much more complicated.  After all, when it comes to e-commerce, one can collect data from a wide variety of sources that can include your e-commerce website, social networking sites, Google Adwords, Customer Relationship Management software and other related areas. Fortunately analytical tools can help businesses make sense of all this data by revealing patterns that business owners can find to be both helpful and profitable.

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Analytics Helps to Personalize the Customer Experience

Previous data obtained from customers based on previous purchases and browsing behavior can help businesses to personalize the shopping experience for consumers; for instance, e-commerce can customize content to individuals as well as offer specific product promotions. Additionally, businesses can also offer complimentary products to these consumers and in turn, sales will then multiply.

 

Analytics Helps Online Businesses Offer Competitive Pricing

The online marketplace is, without a doubt, a highly competitive environment.  Fortunately, Big Data has the power to seek pricing data from various sources that include the pricing information from online competitors as well as more local pricing information.

 

Analytics Allows Businesses to Provide Superior Customer Service

If a company wants a customer to remain loyal, it is essential that the business provide this consumer with the best possible customer service.  For example, when a customer calls  the company, it is imperative to have the customer’s complete previous business information available.  Further, if a customer has made a complaint or expressed concerns in the past, this information should be clearly noted to the customer service representative.  In this way, the customer service representative can be especially attentive to the customer’s needs.  Fortunately, Big Data helps customer service agents in this regard.

 

Analytics Can Empower Businesses to Better Manage the  Inventory Supply

Big Data can also help to manage the inventory supply by providing information that can effectively differentiate between the supply of merchandise with a fast turnover or a slow turnover.  Moreover, if a company uses a third party to store inventory, companies will be better equipped to obtain inventory and transport information as needed.  After all, today’s consumers expect to know the precise availability and status of all orders.

 

Overall, analytics offers companies of all sizes the ability to both know and predict what their customer needs may be in the future.  The end result?  Naturally more satisfied customers and more sales increases for businesses.

 

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Interoperability An Important Issue In Public Safety & Utilities

I’m not sure how bad it remains, but most people don’t realize that many–perhaps the majority–of public safety (police, fire, medical) radio systems are not compatible with one another.  In other words, as I know has happened many times, when one county’s law enforcement reaches a county line, perhaps in pursuit, their radios are not compatible with the next county over.  In those situations the officers have to have their dispatcher call the dispatcher in the next county and relay information.  That’s not a very efficient or effective manner of dealing with emergency situations.

dispatch

Utilities also face a similar situation in major storms when they usually dispatch crews to affected areas to help with power restoration.  Often the utility has to issue radios to the volunteer crews, or find some other way of communicating–cell phones help, but are too slow for emergencies.

 

Various radio manufacturers and others have banded together to address this situation and it is getting better, but there still is a long way to go.  How far remains will be the topic of an Urgent Communications webinar on Sept 25 at 2 p.m. ET.  More information about the webinar and registration is available here.

 

I’m not sure what advanced analytics have been brought to bear on this issue so far, but it’s a problem begging for thorough analysis.  To date all I’ve seen are guestimates of how big the problem really is.  It’s past time for advanced analytics to be applied here.

–Warren B. Causey

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Television’s Future In The Air? Analyze It.

broken_television_medium

I’ve been seeing some advertisements e-mailed to me recently claiming cable television is on its way out.  I haven’t bothered to click on the ads to see what the promotion is about other than noticing it’s apparently some kind of investment scheme.  However, those ads got me to thinking about television and its future, which is a topic for analytics.

 

I haven’t watched any “prime-time” television in about 20 years, Hollywood left me and a host of other religiously-oriented viewers long ago.  Nearly the only thing my wife and I use a television for is as a screen for a large collection of old, and in my opinion decent, movie videos we own.  I said “nearly”.  During the college football season, I do watch whenever my favorite team, the Tennessee Volunteers, is playing and sometimes any other interesting games that might be on.  I watched a Vols game last Saturday and I found myself amazed at how irritating the commercials were every time the ball changed hands or there was some other excuse for running them.  I hadn’t watched any television in months (since last football season, I guess) and had just about forgotten about the incessant commercials.  I just used the mute button during those periods and/or went out to the porch to puff my pipe; I couldn’t tell you today a single thing that was being advertised.

 

All of these elements–the ads projecting the end of cable, the ability to ignore the “idiot box” most of the time, my wife agreeing with me that we’d be perfectly happy if we didn’t have a TV in the house (she reads two or three books a week in the evenings)–got me to thinking about the need for some serious analytics around the future of television.  Yes, I realize we’re probably outliers with regard to television, but we have a 22-year-old son who has no more interest in it than we do and a lot of his same-age friends are the same way.  Television broadcasters already use polling for their Nielsen Reports, I think those have been showing declining viewership as well, and a recent statement from Nielsen says they will begin measuring internet viewership as a result.

 

It may be time for those involved in television to do some serious analytics work about what the public really thinks of what Hollywood and the networks crank out or there could be an ever-increasing number of households just like mine.  It’s a big industry and even if I have no use for it, it probably wouldn’t be good for the country if it were to just disappear or go bankrupt.  Some improvements in programming might help–analyze it.  The current model is broken as far as I, and an increasing number of people, are concerned.

–Warren B. Causey

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Analytics Helping Model High-Performance Aircraft

As a lot of people probably know by now, I have a son just entering his senior year in engineering at Southern Polytechnic Institute near Atlanta, GA.  He also has just obtained a part-time job/internship for the school year with a firm that designs and builds parts for military aircraft.  Among the things that helped him land the job is that he is very computer savvy, knows how to use a lot of graphics and modeling programs and has a nodding acquaintance with business intelligence and analytics.

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Obviously analytics play an important role in the design of high-performance aircraft.  Flying has come a long way since the Wright Brothers, drawing upon earlier work by others, built the first successful heavier-than-air craft.  They used hand drawings, math worked out on paper and a little information and rumor of data from earlier attempts.  The forces at play on today’s hyper-sonic aircraft are tremendous and require extensive analysis.  Those are not analyses that can be done entirely by hand, as was done with early aircraft.

 

Advanced analytics obviously are playing a major role in aircraft design today.  It’s another case of the right tool being available at the right time.

–Warren B. Causey

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