The applicability of Big Data to the business of Omniera
This is the third article of the series “The Revolution of management systems imposed by Omniera” In previous articles, we explained how this revolution takes place and talked about the arrival of collaborative economy.
Now, we will discuss how the changes led by the wide distribution of information on the cloud, and the consolidation of concepts regarding management of large data volumes are impacting business.
Currently, data play the leading role on the market
Some time ago, we frequently used the expression “show me the money” in the corporate environment which in a very practical sense indicated that if you have money, you will have access to things.
Currently, this expression is being replaced by “show me the data”, since data became more important in many contexts than money itself. By the way, Fortune’s Unicorn List includes dozens of startups worth many billion dollars whose primary activity is to obtain data and generate material market information.
During a long time, in order to have access to applications, online purchases and web services, companies used to request clients to fill out a form. Many people used to give up registration because they did not want to fill out said form.
Mobile systems simplified the supply of information. For example, upon registering with some application, there is an option to use your Facebook and/or Google account so that you can register more rapidly and easily. Most people choose this option.
If ten years ago the Internet already had all types of contents, with the arrival of this type of facilitator, information is now broader than ever.
With so much online information, and so many facilitators sharing information (blogs, groups, social networks etc.), it is not surprising that we are experiencing the age of abundance. On the web, you can find basically everything if you know how to search for it. This new paradigm was named “Big Data”.
This huge volume of structured and unstructured data impacts business on a daily basis, requiring tools that are specially developed to handle large volumes.
However, what’s most important is not the volume of data, but the analysis of this massive sample. It is important for generating material results, making consistent and assertive decisions, and obtaining insights that lead to better decisions and strategic guidance for the business. After all, what companies do with data is ever more crucial. Not having a strategy to use Big Data in favor of one’s business may open space for other competitors, who are eager for knowledge.
The term “Big Data” is attributed to Douglas Laney, Gartner Group’s VP. Laney is responsible for:
- the data strategy team;
- Infonomics – the economics of information;
- information and innovation surveys;
- big data research and use-case analysis, data monetization, open and licensed data;
- and data management organizational structures.
He conducted analyses and related information projects in five continents and on most market segments.
The term “Big Data” appeared in the middle of the year 2001 as a result of a survey conducted by Laney. The study was called “3D Data Management: Controlling Data Volume, Velocity and Variety,” and it established Big Data’s three pillars, as follows:
Organizations collect data from a wide variety of sources, including commercial transactions, social networks, and information from sensors or data transmitted from one equipment to another. In the past, storing this quantity of information would have been a problem, but the new technologies have been able to handle this burden.
Volumes are already measured in Zettabytes, which are equivalent to 1,073,741,824 Terabytes, that is, more than 1 billion Terabytes. This huge volume is physically stored in several physical sites. However, these data can be accessed on the Internet.
Data flow at an unprecedented speed, and must be dealt with in a timely manner. RFID tags, sensors, smartphones and intelligent counters are boosting the need for handling huge quantities of data in real time.
Velocity deals with the possibility of getting data on a given event in real time. Not only internal business events, but, above all, worldwide events, such as the creation of a differentiated business model, or a global catastrophe that can affect business. Obtaining information in due time can save lives and companies.
Data are generated in all formats – structured data, numerical data on traditional databases, unstructured text documents, e-mails, videos, stock exchange quotation data and financial transactions.
Establishing a way to deal with unstructured data may help companies find business opportunities that otherwise would never be available in a structured data base, such as that of ERP systems.
The three Vs introduced by Laney in 2001 represent the dimensions of Big Data. More recently, another 2 Vs were included in Big Data definition. They are:
Internet information may not always be trusted. For this reason, the Veracity pillar gained strength in Big Data by determining the veracity of contents. In this sense, we must highlight what is relevant among so much information, and ensure that it will bring important knowledge to help understand consumers and their behavior. So, veracity deals with data on human dynamics that are registered, for example, in the interaction of social media, or browser tracking. The data recorded must be reliable, since they represent actual interactions.
Having access to endless information is not sufficient. It would be better to get information that may add value to the business. When it is possible to understand information, and separate between relevant and immaterial information, it will certainly be possible to create more efficient and profitable business.
When we refer to the ERP systems developed for Omniera, which deal with several business channels and centralize information about all business activities, we are already experiencing a very wide information universe.
Adding ERP information to virtual store or marketplace data will create a more consistent repository for supporting decision making. What we will see in a very near future, however, is deeper than that, since it predicts the possibility that the ERP system will unify business information with those from other information sources in order to understand behaviors and the wishes of consumers – systemic understanding of the consumer’s journey, enabling companies to use predictive analysis in real time, like in the checkouts of physical retail stores.
A good example of the integration between ERP system information and external data would be to import Google Analytics data to the ERP system, and be able to create performance indicators that use data related to what is happening in the online store with those that are taking place in the company’s internal activities, like OMS-related processes.
But, in fact, there are no limits or precedent for such information. From the moment that robots started to capture browsing and interaction information – see chatbots – a door was opened to countless possibilities that range from the possibility of an application to watch videos on the Internet and learn about a given topic presented in these videos, and convert its knowledge into information structured in management systems to better direct the business.
Note that we are talking about uniting the unknown that is contained in unstructured data, such as videos, audios, images, weather information, music and documents in different formats distributed at random on the Internet with data structured in the management systems developed by Omniera, so as to have data that may generate interesting information about purchase behaviors and predictive analyses.
One may think that we are still far from these possibilities, but some ERP systems players are already accumulating experiences with Big Data, integrating data sources that are external to ERP, and creating decision making suites that go beyond the traditional planning and management offered by traditional legacy and monolithic ERP systems.
These models, in turn, are dying due to lack of technology and lack of understanding about the new scenarios imposed with the arrival of Omniera.
Do not hesitate to change your old/legacy/monolithic ERP for more complex, complete and sophisticated systems – devised for Omniera. ERP market savvies are aware of the security deficiencies that led a major global player to become an FBI case. In general, people are also aware of thousands of companies (particularly wholesalers and distributors) who went bankrupt in Brazil in the last decade for having adopted a monolithic, expensive and ineffective ERP system from an important player in the domestic market.
Is your ERP prepared to deal with Big Data?