Was it only just a year ago when most people relied on local market areas to secure products they used on a daily basis? It seems as though we have been conducting the majority of our transactions online for our entire lives, but it may have only been the onset of the pandemic that drove everyone into cyberspace. However, if there is one thing we’ve learned since early in 2020, it would be that data analytics are definitely driving revenue up in these top seven industries.
Businesses large and small have been relying more heavily than ever on Big Data and analytics for a number of reasons – revenue a priority, of course – but there are other ways in which today’s business relies heavily on available data to analyze. Before looking at these industries that saw an upsweep in revenue due to a thorough analysis of their respective markets, let’s look at the various areas in which data needs to be analyzed along the way to yield those increases we have seen.
Why Do Businesses Use Data Analytics?
The obvious answer to that question would be to drive revenue, of course, but how does that work? Are businesses simply using analytics to grow their bottom line or do they find other ways in which data can help them along the way? Actually, increasing profits is the ultimate goal but analytics can help companies be more efficient in a number of ways.
One of the most prevalent areas in which today’s businesses are seeking an accurate analysis of available data, is in terms of operations. For example, companies need to follow trends in:
- Labor conditions
- Customer acquisition
- Customer retention
This is in addition to other key areas of business operations as well. Having said that, you can now see why it is vital to collect and analyze all available data because each and every one of those areas has a direct impact on profitability and revenue. In fact, driving revenue through data analytics as a field of study at high-ranked colleges like Emerson College is a priority for anyone seeking a graduate degree in the field or who intends to run a successful business.
Industry #1: Healthcare
This is one industry that is continually assessing all available data, especially now, two years into a global pandemic. Not only is government seeking to follow trails to widespread fraud, but physicians are seeking ways to treat patients during a time of crisis when the need is so great. How can they reach all the patients needing to be seen and how to keep staff employed are big areas to be assessed. Remember that the nation has gone digital in ‘office visits’ which means that private practice doctors and clinics are relying less heavily on in-office patient support and more heavily on technology.
Will this trend to schedule doctor visits in Telemed apps like Zoom continue, or will the nation go back to business as usual once it reaches the long-awaited herd immunity? This is something data analytics can seek to resolve based on numbers trending. Now you can see just one area in which data needs to be continually analyzed in order to be efficient in healthcare operations.
Industry #2: Manufacturing
This is another interesting industry to consider when seeking to discover ways in which data analytics helps to increase revenue. There is no doubt that efficient operations lead to a much higher profitability; however, what areas need to be analyzed in order to determine how best to increase efficiency? That is one of the most important questions in literally any industry but, in manufacturing, the data being analyzed is largely due to advances in technology such as AI and robotics.
Not only does this transformation to technology in manufacturing bring about a higher level of efficiency within the manufacturing processes but it also increases cost efficiency as well. Automated manufacturing processes make the collection of data easier but that is only one side of the benefits of technology within manufacturing. At the same time, the data being gathered also helps as a support to accounts payable and receivable. How much should a manufacturer order and how much is wasted due to over inventorying?
There are other ways in which data analytics impact the manufacturing industry which should be mentioned as well. It is the embedding of sensors within the equipment that makes it possible to collect data throughout each and every process down the line. Sensors help to analyze the life span of equipment and parts while sending a ‘message’ that parts are failing and in need of repair/replacement. Can you imagine just how much time is saved when the purchase department knows to order that replacement part long before it actually fails?
Industry #3: Retail
If the past year has shown us anything whatsoever about the importance of data analytics, it would be through advances in retail. In the early days, the shelves were bare as people began panic buying. People around the world were ordered to stay home unless it was absolutely necessary to go someplace like the doctor or to shop in places where there is no delivery service. Products were selling out before merchants could restock their shelves and even large chains like Walmart had difficulty staying on top of ordering.
Those little handhelds the stockers carry are now being seen as the lifeblood of retailers, and a quick scan of shelves throughout the store sends vital inventory information to the purchase department. In fact, some of that process is automated as well. Sometimes there isn’t even a need for human intervention because data analytics has already determined how much stock should be on premises at all times and can then work silently to order more of any given item based on amounts previously determined. It really is amazing to see just how technology has advanced, making retail sales smoother and much more efficient.
Industry #4: Supply Chain Management
This is a tough one as it does affect literally every other industry imaginable. What we have seen in the news over the past year-and-a-half is that just one disruption in the supply chain can have catastrophic results. Here in the United States the coronavirus pandemic is just one thing that caused breakdowns in the supply chain. This year saw record shattering days of heat along with flooding in the east, droughts in the west, fires that blocked major highways, and even earthquakes and rockslides that tore a rift in supply chain routes.
Warehouses were having difficulties keeping staff on the job due to days lost to the pandemic and even truck drivers lost time on the road due to sickness. By analyzing the data along the way, it became easier to predict where major breakdowns might occur in order to circumnavigate any issues before they could arise. It has been a long process but, once technology was made available to gather data to be analyzed, supply chain routes did become easier to navigate. Even digital cameras were used in warehousing to help predict when more stock was needed so that it could be ordered timely. With little need for human intervention, efficiency increased multiple times over and, for shoppers, those stocked shelves really added a layer of relief that foods and necessary supplies would not always be in short supply.
Industry #5: Education
Is there a parent out there who wasn’t concerned about just how much time our children were missing from classes due to mandated shutdowns? As a result of shutting down school districts around the nation, it became easy to begin analyzing exactly how our children learn! It is said that every cloud has a silver lining and this just happens to be that wonderfully lined cloud.
One of the ways in which school districts compensated for classroom time missed was to set up a system of remote learning. Yes, this solved one area of the problem but it also made it possible to add layers to our understanding of just how kids learn! When you are using technology to conduct a class, that very same technology can gather information on behaviors and things such as time lost to daydreaming and running about the room. Isn’t Zoom amazing?
In fact, many school districts are now looking to meet staffing issues in districts where it’s hard to employ a sufficient number of teachers, most often in rural areas. As the collection and analysis of data continues, it is expected that school boards around the country will be better able to budget and write policies that promote a more substantial education within a system that has been called broken for many years. From being able to reroute school buses for more efficient routes to ordering foods for the cafeteria, this past year has seen exponential growth in education mostly attributed to data analysis.
Industry #6: Agriculture
Who would have ever thought that something as traditional as agriculture could be impacted in a positive way by data analysis? Of interest here is a company like John Deere that has begun adopting many of the practices of big data in order to launch services that are data enabled. This may sound a bit confusing at first but, in reality, what we are seeing is the use of technology to improve operations within agriculture.
In much the same way as sensors have been added to machinery and equipment in manufacturing, those very same types of sensors can be placed on agricultural equipment such as tractors to begin assessing how efficient that particular model is and whether or not newer, more technologically advanced pieces of farm equipment, could replace outdated equipment that isn’t able to keep up with the flow.
Industry # 7: Hospitality & Travel
If ever there was a hard-hit industry during this year of pandemics, fires, floods, hurricanes, droughts, and a whole host of other calamities, it would be hospitality and travel. Yes, there are really two very distinct industries but this year has seen a correlation between the two. Not only has air flight been restricted and even shut down for a time, but so too has hospitality suffered the same fate. Altogether too many small to mid-sized hotels and restaurants had to lock their doors and shutter their windows one last time.
What many virologists and epidemiologists have determined is that by the use of data analytics, it may just be possible to ensure safer conditions which could, in turn, preclude the need to do a total shutdown. Such things as air filtration units are being researched so that air circulating through a closed network can be replaced by units that actually do filter 99.999% of particulates that spread diseases.
Many years in the past, in 1976 that is, the nation mourned the passing of 29 of 182 people who were infected with Legionnaire’s disease in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This particular type of lung infection is spread in much the same way as SARS-CoV-2 but thankfully never became a pandemic. However, the way in which the contagion spreads gave science a much-needed head start on how to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
While that particular end of what technology and data analytics can do is a bit futuristic at this point, the one thing data analytics can do is track bookings in order to assess peak traveling times. Until now, all those numbers needed to be calculated manually from the books and some of the information has been incomplete or inaccurate. With a simple software fix tied into the computer network, all tallies will be ready by day, week, month or even seasonally. This will do wonders for managers who need to have all the shelves stocked and staff in good supply.
If ever there was a time to learn more about how data analytics can drive your business forward, now would be a good time. By building a solid foundation with the information you learn in graduate data analytics courses, you can stay one step ahead of the competition as you grow. And that’s always a very good feeling!