When Time Warner Cable (TWC) wanted business insights on its customer base it turned to Cloud based business analytics. Similarly, several organizations are exploring this source. Analytics can further be divided into four broad sub-categories. Descriptive analytics looks into what happened and simply reports the exact details of the target audience. Diagnostic analytics delves deeper into why certain results showed up. Predictive analytics is cutting edge modern technology which studies the future of the market based around existing trends and picks up on customer clues. Finally there is prescriptive analytics which not only finds reasons for events occurring but also provides multiple solutions for the concerned organization to undertake. Within the entire gamut of analytics, hindsight, insight as well as business foresight are presented.

In the ongoing digital age, datahas taken on the importance equivalent to capital had in the past. Big Data enables marketers to analyze information and target markets accordingly. It allows smaller players to compete with giants primarily due to business insights that get captured. The platform module is one of the primary drivers of this business line. Platform providers such as Uber and Alibaba have disrupted markets in a big way. Ford is attempting something similar while launching the Ford Pass mobile app and to counter this Apple has come up with its own Car Play. A number of firms struggle with the vast quantities of data available but Oracle is trying to buck the trend by creating more receptive products.

Like many other global giants in their respective fields, Toyota too suffered major reverses during the financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent recession. Its financial services subsidiary which itself has four million odd customers saw several loans defaulting and fewer car sales. Thus in order to revamp the collections aspect, Toyota decided to go ahead with an aggressive investment on Big Data analytics. The overall process came under the directive of Collections Treatment Organization (CTO). It involved a three pronged strategy. First of all a new decision engine Experian was implemented. Then predictive analytics was applied to work. Finally a credit scoring tool was employed to analyze vast quantities of data.  All this eventually led to forecasting of real world results.

A new report by Accenture has stated that instead of trying to create digital shock to defeat competitors, one needs to focus on using technology to empower people and thus causing disruption to existing business models. The case of Zappos has been mentioned as one where data is used to perform business analytics regarding customer needs and wants. Certain business trends are particularly trending these days. On top of that is intelligent automation mainly powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The workforce has now become liquid with the use of freelance employees working in what is often termed as the gig economy. The trust factor has risen exponentially in digital media due to improved cyber security measures. A number of firms are engaging in predictable disruption which seeks to forecast emerging business trends and create backup plans well in advance. Platform companies such as Amazon, Uber and Alibaba have become universal and several other businesses are basing themselves around these. Such platforms enable other players to earn slices out of non-competitor industries simply by associating with the market leaders.  

While working on business analytics, there are certain things which we need to pay attention towards. First is Bounce Rate which must remain as low as possible. The site is probably poorly designed if bounce rate is high. Then there are the landing pages which provide the first impressions that potential customers get. Due diligence must be paid to keep it relevant to ensure conversions. Traffic sources must also be kept an eye on. Conversion rates signify to the marketer the correlation between the digital marketing campaign and the actual worth of the final product. Unique visitors provide us the overall mass and the brand reach. Average session duration or time on site is the barometer to measure the actual contribution the respective web pages made on individual visitors. Page views must also be considered together as that shows the total number of pages within the site, the visitor used up. The more is usually an indication of good content but if time per page remains low, then perhaps there is too much clutter. Exit pages are a perfect indicator of why people are quitting the website and at which stage. Significantly, the most popular pages are often the exit pages as well. The new versus returning visitors ration gives the marketer understanding on brand loyalty among existing customers as well as potential new ones. A healthy mix is needed. Finally one needs to gauge site content as that will show individual aspects that viewers are most keenly following.

The year 2016 will see certain trends in the fields of business analytics and cognitive computing. Big Data will now find a way to enter into every nook and corner of the business world. Data preparation will now be replaced by the more sophisticated data science. However, there is immense risk in the hills of data that organizations have and will further load on. Certain new buzzword or two will emerge in the new year, but this time it could be something as old world as data mining which could make a comeback. Enterprises will now start monetizing the data to be supplied. Forrester for example has already made its intentions clear. Talent crunch still remains a major gap and that may not be addressed properly even next year.

Business research has been conducted to identify the steps to develop customer focused marketing strategies. First of all it is important to gauge exactly what the target audience requires. Data analytics provides us with tools to track conversations across social media outlets. Offers and gifts must then be linked with customer needs. These offerings must be targeted using various marketing channels such as Facebook or YouTube which provide ample digital marketing scope. This targeting must be backed up by strong video based selling. Marketers must realize that the content must be delivered via media which consumers are most comfortable with, which in today’s scenario, turns out to be the smartphone. Constant review must be made on work progress. Finally, timing is critical. Special events and festivals must be leveraged to deliver the right content at right time.

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