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“Big data” isn’t just a trendy buzzword and it’s not some revolutionary concept. It’s exactly what it sounds like: Large amounts of data that may be beneficial to a company’s marketing endeavors by helping them understand their demographics better. Big data can come from numerous sources, both internally and externally, and can include things like customer surveys, massive surveys such as the Census, and even an email list or analytics report from a social media page. 

However, it’s managing and using that big data, translating it into workable material, that makes a huge difference. Some data has a short shelf life, and if it’s gathered but not utilized it goes to waste. The reality is that almost every business and industry can benefit from big data if wielded correctly. Here are some of the most common fields that under-utilize this precious commodity.

1. Attorneys and law firms

Many attorneys don’t look back on client records or delve into market research unless it benefits an up and coming issue. Of course, there are always exceptions and law firms which stay abreast of statistics to be best prepared, but for the most part there’s a lot of wasted material here.

2. Spas and salons

There’s a bunch of big data for this industry where trends are constantly changing and where people are spending their pampering money is going. However, if a salon isn’t collecting that data and seeing what potential customers want, they’ll keep offering the same thing even if that’s no longer in demand.

3. Teachers

There are seemingly endless reports and statistics on education, and while the best teachers keep up to date with this industry reading, what good is it if not put into practice? Educators might already have a very full plate, but making time to translate data into actionable options can drastically help their students and school system.

4. Real estate agents

The housing market is volatile, but many of the top real estate agents claim they saw the housing bubble burst coming from a long ways back. You can glean this kind of information from following data and spotting trends. It’s not all about selling property or working with clients, it’s also about being prepared for market shifts.

5. Restaurant owners 

Working in a restaurant requires the same hours as an on-call surgeon. However, data can tell you trends in the market and put you ahead of the curve when it comes to knowing what customers want.

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Comment by David P. Jurist on July 25, 2014 at 6:07am

Do you have any remarks about agriculture, agribusiness and construction? In my individual professional experience the construction industry is conservative because they are so heavily constrained by industrial standards and regulatory codes that they tend to adopt changes only decades after a material or technique has withstood the tests of time.

Comment by Sam Sur on July 24, 2014 at 4:44pm

Even an industry like Manufacturing, which is an obvious candidate for analytics based on Big Data has been relatively slow to take on the BD challenge, primarily because of lack of trained resources, We see this issue with lack of trained resources all the time - even with so many MOOCs and hands-on training sessions by Cloudera, Horton, ThinkBig etc., most of the industries listed above and many in other industries like smaller manufacturing are not able to leverage Big Data due to lack of trained resources. I hear this in almost all IoT and BD meetups I go to.

Comment by Vincent Granville on July 22, 2014 at 4:22am

Regarding real estate, Zillow is a company that predicts house value for any house in US, even with warnings for areas with many foreclosures. But it does not predict market shifts.

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