Retrieving value out of data
With the increasing digitisation of society, companies are gathering more and more data than ever before. Computers are becoming more powerful, and thanks to smart algorithms they are able to process large quantities of data very quickly. Data analytics is about retrieving value out of data, giving a better insight into customer behaviour or preferences.
For instance, making sure that trucks deliver goods along the most optimal paths. Or deciding which of your ten thousand product catalogues to put on the first page of your website, in order to maximise sales.
Client perspective on analytics
The Directorate-General of the European Community Humanitarian Aid Office (DG ECHO), the organisation that provides humanitarian and emergency aid during crises, uses analytics to make instant decisions. A visual dashboard shows what resources are deployed where, how many people they reach, and through which organisation. Making the right decisions quickly is critical to help save lives.
“We have tonnes of information about our humanitarian aid efforts, but analysing and drawing conclusions was a massive undertaking until recently,” says Jean-Pierre Buisseret, the head of the finance department at DG ECHO. “Now we have a helicopter view of everything we do,” adds Buisseret. “This leaves more time and energy to help people.”
Analytics can help businesses:
Do more with less effort or less money.
Become better, or different.
For instance, having a way to listen to the opinions of clients in social media, filtering the right message from all the noise, can allow a business to communicate with that one single individual who has a bad perception.
Invent new business models or disrupt existing ones.
For instance, putting the knowledge of medical doctors “in a box” and “accessible everywhere”, so that medical colleagues can share medical knowledge and help patients at any time in any location, without needing physical access to the hospital or a human expert.
Raising the standard
Another company putting Big Data prominently on the agenda is Janssen Pharmaceutica, the pharmaceutical subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. ”Today, standard medication works for the majority of patients. Knowing what works and doesn’t work for which person would result in an enormous improvement in efficiency,” says CEO Tom Heyman.
”We are currently working with the data of a limited number of patients in the development of medication,” says Heyman. ”But if we are able to process the data of hundreds of thousands of patients, in combination with biological data, we get a clear picture of the interaction between bacteria and cells. And then we can personalise our medication to a considerable extent.” Janssen’s big dream goes a step further. ”The better we understand the body, the better we can opt for prevention. Recognising the disease before it actually breaks out.” To realise this, Janssen works closely with universities and the government to study the latest possibilities of supercomputing. The company recently opened a new prevention centre which is all about Big Data.
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