4 Surprising Industries Big Data is Transforming

6 min read

If you work in technology, you’d probably love to have a quarter for every time you encounter the term “big data.” The phrase has been thrown around a lot, and has become one of the biggest buzzwords of the last couple years. Like it or not, big data is here to stay and it is changing our world and businesses in unexpected ways. From fashion to farming, the ever-increasing amount of data held by systems and organizations we use daily is re-configuring the way products are delivered, people interact with one another, and leaders make critical decisions for their organizations. Below are four unexpected industries being transformed by big data: Avant-garde algorithms Rent the Runway, an ingenious business that allows women to sample designer dresses for a fraction of the original cost, is dominating its space. The enterprise is incredibly impressive in its complexity. Every day Rent the Runway and its intricate algorithms handle a daunting 65,000 dresses and 25,000 pieces of jewelry that travel all over the country to reach over 5 million members. It’s absolutely critical that each dress or accessory gets delivered on time to the proper place, or they risk losing customers and generating negative word-of-mouth. Every time a dress is lent, delivered, and returned, the system gets a little smarter, more data is stored, and the process can continue to be improved.  Post-office analytics When you think about how ubiquitous the postal service is, it’s almost no surprise that there’s a wealth of knowledge waiting to be discerned by monitoring the system. A recent Forbes article by Frederico Guerrini suggested that, “affixing sensors to postal trucks could help, for instance, reduce fleet maintenance costs, optimize routes, report dead spots in mobile and wireless coverage, or monitor environmental conditions, detecting harmful chemical agents and pollution.” A mind-boggling amount of data about everything from road conditions to the best place to open a storefront could then be available to retailers and municipalities alike. Dating meets data Who knew finding “the one” could be so technical? Over at eHarmony, they use “terabytes of data” to ensure that the matches they make have a high likelihood of success. Using a cutting-edge open source software framework called Hadoop, they are able to back up their information and garner previously unknown business intelligence to improve the experience for their clients. As soon as a user logs onto their profile, the service is monitoring each click, in order to better predict behaviors and activities on the site. The more they continue to learn about their users, the more accurately they can predict future matches. Futuristic farming When I go to the store to pick up a dozen eggs, I have never thought about the extensive analytics and data gathering that might have gone into getting this particular carton onto the shelves in the right quantity, at the right time. But according to reports on British Columbia’s Egg Marketing Board (who knew there was such a thing?), extensive data on the “65 million eggs and 2.6 million chickens” in its system is collected each time a farm is inspected so that it can be recorded and integrated into the organization’s databases. This extensive data helps the BC create reports that help farmers to plan production and address challenges. This big data set can help farmers understand trends in the marketplace like increased demand around Easter and other holidays. In addition, it can help farmers plan more efficiently in order to limit waste and increase product quality. Now that you know of all the unexpected industries using big data, you might not be surprised to find out that leaders at cutting edge companies in more traditional verticals like SaaS, Manufacturing, and Life Sciences are using big data to change the way that they do business as well. Companies using Xactly Insights™  are able to drastically change their understanding of their sales performance management effectiveness. Xactly is the only company with tens year's worth of empirical compensation information that can help you make data-driven choices around your sales compensation program. Check out Insights today. Sources: