One of the biggest questions of the day is the openness of such transactions, and the level of control that individuals have over the fate of the personal information they -- sometimes unwittingly -- divulge to organisations with which they interact online. Recent votes on both sides of the Atlantic have highlighted the capacity for data-savvy organisations to hoover up and profile large amounts of user data -- including demographics, consumer behaviour and internet activity -- in order to micro-target adverts, news stories and services in support of particular goals or causes.
Clearly, the data floodgates are now opening for businesses of all sizes and descriptions, bringing myriad opportunities for timely analysis in pursuit of competitive advantage. Although the focus is currently slanted towards customer behaviour, data is available at multiple points in the product or service supply chain, and comes in many forms -- traditional (structured), ad hoc (unstructured), real time, and IoT- or M2M-generated, to name but a few.
Companies that implement big data analytics successfully can reap rich rewards from cost-saving efficiencies and revenue-generating innovations. This can help businesses achieve a digital transformation, allowing them to maintain competitiveness in the face of any disruptive startups -- which are data-driven almost by definition -- that spring up in their markets.