April 13, 2016

Brushing Up On Big Data

by Anthony Wright

Here’s some food for thought: According to some recent research by the analytics firm IDC, the “digital universe”—or the data that surrounds us every day—doubles in cumulative size every two years. And while that statistic may not necessarily be surprising, it can certainly be intimidating.

Big data is transforming the way we live and work on a broad scale, and many businesses are using the availability of this data to develop new insights for their organizations. While it’s most easily demonstrated in the way tech giants like Google are applying sophisticated data analysis to, for instance, improve search, maps or advertising capabilities, big data has implications all the way down to the hometown small shop down the street.

The implications for the fenestration industry are no different. But it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Analysis & Insight
Data isn’t new; businesses have kept records of transactions for many years, often to keep track of operations and/or use for forecasting. But today’s technologies have made it possible to collect data from a multitude of sources, and these findings have the potential to change how we market products and interact with customers.

If only we knew what to do with it.

Generating new insights based on big data is contingent on a couple of things: decision and agreement on what data is important, and knowing how to translate that important data into business-driving insights. Do interactions on social media matter? What about the rate at which a customer clicks a link in your newsletter? How do those analytics correlate with sales?

This goes beyond marketing. For Quanex, our customers have a ballooning interest in high-speed automation for their glass and window manufacturing processing—machines that are driven by sophisticated software suites that allow for unprecedented levels of control. Data generated and collected through these new processes can lead to significant process improvements.

Taking Action
The conversation around big data tends to revolve around possibility and potential. However, it’s important to remember these new insights mean nothing unless businesses make them actionable.

Depending on your position in your organization, “taking action” might not be your decision alone to make, and it further highlights the possibilities afforded by big data. Have a well-formed idea that can improve processes or generate greater sales? Sell it up the chain of command with hard, data-based evidence.

The possibilities and outcomes afforded by big data are available to all organizations with the desire to make them realities, no matter size or industry. Have any big data success stories you’d like to share? Drop me a line at Anthony.Wright@Quanex.com.

For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Posted: April 13, 2016 by Anthony Wright Filed under: big, data, insights, market, mining