Article written by Leeds University Business School originally appeared in Study International on July 9, 2018.
“Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway.”- Geoffrey Moore
As one of many buzzwords that define the digital age, the term ‘big data’ has made a great impression on many business owners and corporate leaders.
Otherwise known as high-volume data, this field requires dynamic processing and interpretation before it can produce valuable information. As such, for businesses to truly benefit, they must effectively deconstruct the facts and figures.
Big Data Defined
According to Forbes, big data is changing the way people live their lives, “Today, we can collect big data from every imaginable field we’re able to monitor digitally.”
“The volumes are unprecedented. Big data refers to large sets of info that are analyzed for trends and patterns that offer useful insights. Special emphasis is placed on analyzing people’s behavior and interactions online.”
With the daily formation of two-and-a-half quintillion bytes of data, it’s easy to see why many students are choosing this subject and businesses are choosing to analyse its impact on society.
Through the exponential growth of data, the job market has opened its doors to newly-formed roles and created an exciting range of positions for those interested in IT.
By bringing new life to traditional structures of businesses, big data has allowed organisations to take their products and services far beyond the boundaries of time, straight onto the high-tech highway.
For example, in the public safety sector, big data has the power to help stop crime before it happens. As IBM engineer Rashik Parmar states, “Using social media data, crime statistics and data from different agencies (such as home land security and the precinct) helps services like the New York Police Department to determine where and when crime is likely to happen so that they can increase the police presence in those places.”
Of course, big data doesn’t stop there, it influences most fields and allows many other divisions to thrive.
Big Data and the Business World
The longstanding relationship between big data and the business world has attracted infinite amounts of interest over the years.
As effective data analytics enable the efficiency of public sector organisations, boost companies’ market awareness and tightens the bond between corporations and their consumers, it’s a prosperous trade to pursue.
Highlighted in the latest Leeds University Business School Big Data Symposium, “The worlds of marketing, logistics, finance, human resources, management, R&D and IT, whether public or private sector, are on the brink of major transformation as a result of their potential to exploit big data.”
That’s why people are beginning to seriously question how big data should develop. For instance, how are companies using consumer and public data to enhance their productivity? And what happens to the consumer’s privacy when they tap into this data?
By building a virtual bridge between the business and consumer, the benefits of big data are clear. But there are also risks in this process.
Organisations must ensure their big data exploitation is both ethical and meaningful. Misuse of public information may result in legal penalties, reputational damage and company closure.
As Rashik Parmar adds, “Thinking about the value of data requires us to be ethical. As another example, a lot of people have their mobile phones on whilst travelling in their car. That data is being used by tele companies to understand where you are. Some of the tele companies are selling that information as traffic data to GPS providers.”
The sharing of data is everywhere. That’s why it’s crucial to understand and regulate its usage and discover where it ends up.
Leeds Future Leaders
Institutions like Leeds University Business School at the University of Leeds understand how to navigate this complicated subject. Through a multidimensional syllabus that’s spread across undergraduate and postgraduate courses, Leeds University Business School enhances your knowledge of big data and other technological concepts.
Courses such as BSc Business Analytics, MSc Business Analytics and Decision Sciences and MSc Consumer Analytics and Marketing Strategy allow future leaders to evolve, giving them the confidence to decipher digital information and assess the patterns and trends that originate from these large and convoluted data sets.
Internationally-known as a school that has achieved triple accreditation by AMBA, AACSB and EQUIS, Leeds University Business School is ranked #54 in the world and #7 in the UK in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018 Business and Economics subject rankings and the University of Leeds is among the top 100 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2019.
The University of Leeds is a major centre for big data analytics in the UK, home to the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) and the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC). LIDA offers state-of-the-art facilities in data analytics and works with organisations to help them make the most of the rapidly growing fields of consumer and medical data analysis. The CDRC specifically focuses on consumer data, working with private and public data suppliers, and making the data available for academic purposes.
At the established Centre for Decision Research (CDR), an extensive range of multi-disciplinary research seeks to understand the way in which people and organisations make decisions, and to develop interventions to support better decision making.
By working at the interface between people and analytics, Leeds lecturer and CDR member, Christina Phillips, demonstrated the power of human involvement at the recent big data symposium.
To highlight the forward-thinking research that goes on at Leeds, Phillips outlined that by “putting humans at the centre of analytics development, there is the potential to enhance productivity and increase efficiency within the workforce.”
Other members of CDR, Richard Hodgett and Sajid Siraj demonstrated the range of business areas where analytics can help. Hodgett talked about a new project with the music industry helping identify potential talent from the vast amount of new material available, while Siraj demonstrated how machine learning can improve parts management in manufacturing.
With the global focus shifting towards the role of humans and tech, it’s the prime time to shift your focus to the phenomenon of big data and other fascinating fields.
By making sense of complex notions in the digital era, your experience at Leeds University Business School will capture the eyes of employers and equip you with the knowledge you need to get to the top of the business and tech industries.