5 Companies that Capitalize on Big Data Analytics

As we have explored big data through it’s concepts and applications, it has become increasingly clear as to how versatile big data is (and will continue to be) in business. There were some insights provided on the applications of big data and I suggested that those who were not aware of big data in their industry could in fact be passed by competition. For this article, we will explore 5 companies, all from different industries, who utilize some form of big data or analytics to leverage the benefits in their own competitive landscape.

E-Commerce and cloud computing giant Amazon has access to massive amounts of data with almost 300 million active customers. This data includes names, addresses, payments, buying patterns, and search history, all filed away in one of their internal databases. Obviously, Amazon uses this information in equations, or algorithms, to improve their customer relationships and providing the right products to their customers while taking this data into account. When you enter a search query into the company website, there is a high chance the search has been performed before in multiple repetitions, meaning the most pertinent information is already being filtered before you hit enter. This allows for a faster and more fulfilling customer experience and is most likely one of the main drivers behind why the number of Amazon users continue to increase.

American Express, more recently, has been utilizing big data to analyze and predict the behavior of its consumers. Not in the same way as some of its competitors, but more to tackle the low hanging fruit when it comes to risk management. By examining client’s historical transactions and incorporating more than 100 independent variables, the company employs sophisticated predictive models in place of traditional business intelligence-based hindsight reporting. This translates to more security in terms of account closure risk, payment risk, and other type of activity churn. Using this method in analytics, American Express predicted that 24% of accounts in their Australian market will close within the next 4 months.

If you have ever been driving in a downtown area, you may have asked yourself why Starbucks has 3 separate branches in a distance of 10 blocks. This is not by coincidence. The world’s most popular coffeehouse uses big data and includes information like location, traffic, and demographics to predict the potential success of opening a new store. Making this decision prior to opening a new branch inherently provides cost savings, but also allows Starbucks to compare their estimates of success rates and projected revenue growth across potential locations.

General Electric (or GE) might take the cake when it comes to impact of using big data. First off, because GE is a multinational conglomerate, they use big data on everything from machines sensors to jet engines. Their primary application of big data in these industries revolves around process efficiency, service reliability, and optimization of machinery. With the sheer prevalence of GE in the economy, their initial estimate of benefits after completing integration of their Predix analytics platform, U.S. productivity could increase by 1.5%, which, over a 20-year time frame, could save enough cash to raise national income by as much as 30%.

Cellular carrier and mobile network provider T-Mobile is combining their customer transactions with their interactions, similar to American Express, to predict customer movement in the market. They heavily rely on the internal information gathered from data usage, location services, and even social media use to cut their customer defections in half within a single quarter. T-Mobile’s tailored approach to responding to problems helps them maximize customer sentiment and from the results, T-Mobile is using big data more like a crystal ball that a gadget in it’s tool belt. With 2.1 million customers transitioning to T-Mobile in the second quarter, not only does it underscore their use of big data, but it puts them in contention to challenge even bigger players in the field very soon.

As we can see, all of these firms have some overlap with the big data type they actually use, but significant variation in how they use it. Of course, there are several other large corporations in technology who almost exist because of big data (I’m looking at you, Google). Google has developed numerous open-source tools and technologies that are widely used in the data ecosystem, even some of the companies in the list above. Using the arsenal of different big data techniques, it is possible to sift through millions of websites, collect petabytes of data, and deliver an accurate answer within seconds.

In the next post, we’ll discuss how media and entertainment streaming company Netflix used big data to produce one of the greatest TV shows of all-time. Thanks.