June 2, 2023

Harnessing the Power of Big Data and AI for Business Success 

In the modern era, data is more than just a buzzword—it’s a pivotal cornerstone of business operations. The advent of technology has given rise to Big Data—large volumes of information generated at high speed—and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Both play crucial roles in modern business, driving efficiencies, boosting revenues, and providing invaluable insights. However, the success of these technologies is deeply tied to the quality, accessibility, and readiness of your business data. Here’s a comprehensive guide on understanding and preparing your data for AI, alongside real-world examples of companies successfully leveraging big data.


Familiarise Yourself with The Data

Firstly, you must understand your business data before diving into AI. Familiarise yourself with the data you collect, its origins, storage, format, and quality. Categorise your data as structured, unstructured, or semi-structured, analyse its sources (internal, external, or third-party), and assess its quality for accuracy, consistency, completeness, and timeliness. A key example of a company with a deep understanding of its data is Amazon, the world’s leading e-commerce shop. They utilise dynamic pricing and personalised product recommendations based on customer interaction data, leading to 35% of Amazon’s annual sales.


Marriott Hotels is another excellent example, adjusting their prices based on various factors and utilising facial recognition check-ins and Amazon Echo devices in rooms to gather valuable customer data, resulting in a 5% revenue increase per room. Maintaining clean, well-organised data is crucial for AI as dirty data can lead to misleading outputs. Regular data cleaning involves eliminating duplicates, correcting errors, filling gaps, and removing irrelevant data.


Connecting The Dots or Lines

Next, integrating your data from different sources into a single, unified view allows AI algorithms to draw from a more comprehensive data pool. Netflix has harnessed the power of this concept by tracking a myriad of user behaviours, such as viewing times, binge-watching habits, and show completion rates to create personalized accounts for each user, leading to a high retention rate of 93%.


Security and Governance Are Top Priority, Always

Data privacy and security are paramount when dealing with large amounts of business data. It’s vital to ensure that your data collection, storage, and usage comply with all relevant regulations. McDonald’s exhibits this by using its mobile app to collect user habit data responsibly and offer tailored loyalty rewards.


Ensuring your data is easily accessible for AI tools is another critical step towards AI readiness. Often, data is siloed, making it hard to reach or analyse. Investing in systems that consolidate data in a centralised, accessible location can facilitate AI readiness. For example, Purdue University used an early intervention system called Signals that utilised predictive modelling to identify students at risk of dropping out.


Good data governance, involving clear policies on data accuracy, accessibility, consistency, and compliance, is vital for AI readiness. Sparx, a UK-based company, created a math app for students, leveraging machine learning, personalised content, and data analytics to improve the learning experience while maintaining good data governance.


Finally, proper training of AI models using a part of your data (training set) to teach the AI about patterns and another part (test set) to verify its learning is crucial. Even with the best data, AI models require correct training to function optimally.


In Conclusion

AI has the potential to revolutionise your business, but its effectiveness depends on the readiness of your data. By ensuring data cleanliness, integration, privacy, accessibility, and good governance, you can harness the full power of AI. The journey to AI readiness is strategic and ongoing, but with careful planning and execution, it will undoubtedly pay dividends in the long run.


Are you unsure if your business data is ready for AI? Not sure how to get started? Reach out to us at Braintree. Send an email to enquiries@braintree.co.za, and we’ll arrange for a consultant to contact you. Let us help you embark on your journey towards AI readiness. Your data has a story to tell, and with AI, you can hear it loud and clear. Start your AI data journey with Braintree today!

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