Are you familiar with the saying, don’t put the cart before the horse? It’s an idiom that means to do tasks in the proper order. But when it comes to Big Data and business, we have the cart (the data) in front of the horse (the business) because all that data it grew in volume at an unprecedented rate, leaving many businesses dumbfounded about the next steps.
Many of us are at a point where we feel we are drowning in data, and it increases in volume exponentially every day as we constantly generate more of it. Everything from web browsers and networked devices to Internet-connected appliances and equipment sensors creates an endless and ever-growing amount of information.
In fact, over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every single day, and that number keeps going up. Estimates predict 1.7 megabytes of data will be created every second for every person on earth by 2020. (Check out the 6th edition of the Data Never Sleeps report for a snapshot of the colossal amounts of data being created).
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Data: A Blessing and a Curse
While cumbersome, businesses can use the data to dramatically improve efficiencies, reduce waste, and make informed business decisions, both short-term and long-term. But we currently have more data than humans can possibly process, analyze and draw conclusions from. Even trained data scientists and analysts can’t keep up on their own.
And that’s where Machine Learning comes in. Machine Learning can be used to make sense of the data and move that horseback to where it clearly belongs.
Businesses Need that Data
Although businesses large and small are swamped with data, they need it—even if they don’t realize it yet. With data, businesses can get a competitive edge, lower their operating costs, improve their customer service, and much more.
At the very least, automating business processes so employees are free to focus on more important tasks that are in line with the business’s strategic goals is an important first step in using automation. But analyzing all that data can help businesses do much more to improve:
- Human Resources
- Customer Service
- Product Development
Automating Basic Processes
However, to make those improvements, businesses must figure out how to make sense of all that data. Forrester estimates between 60 and 73 percent of all data in an enterprise goes unused for analytics. Machine Learning can help.
Some businesses are already using Machine Learning to take over routine tasks and transactions, like automating back-office processes. Many companies today delegate mundane tasks to computers, such as capturing data from web-based forms to processing orders. It’s also fairly easy for organizations to automate computer-to-computer interactions in IT, finance and accounting.
Beyond that, it gets more complicated…and the payout gets bigger and more worth it.
How Machine Learning Can Help
Beyond basic back-office tasks, the challenge is determining which pieces of data are important, accurate and actionable—and then dealing with the vast expanse of it. As said above, due to the sheer volume of data that now exists, collecting, analyzing and utilizing all this data is no longer humanly possible. But it’s possible for Machine Learning!
By taking advantage of the huge volume and a wide variety of data, Machine Learning algorithms can be trained based on past experience. That’s the Learning part of Machine Learning. Then when exposed to new data and set up to hunt for patterns, these algorithms can learn from what they find, and build predictive models.
What can Machine Learning do for you? Put all that data to work. With Machine Learning, businesses can move beyond the back-office to take over higher-value tasks including:
- Predictive maintenance
- Data entry
- Customer service
- Product recommendations
- Real-time decision-making
Learn More About the Competitive Edge of Machine Learning
To learn more about ways to gain a competitive edge with Machine Learning, download the whitepaper How Machine Learning Can Make Any Business More Competitive. In it you’ll find an overview of the types of data businesses are already collecting, methods for storing those huge amounts of data, and three specific ways to use that data for a competitive advantage in business processes, marketing, and customer service.
Invest a little time in the whitepaper and walk away with a solid understanding of how Machine Learning can go to work for you and your business.