Is Big Data a Big Problem for Manufacturers?

Manufacturers of all sizes are confronted with massive amounts of data that is difficult to capture, curate, store, search, share and analyze – also known as BIG DATA.

Big data is a collection of complex information sets coming from everywhere: social media sites, stored transaction-based information, logistics stats, RFID and bar-code data, images, web analytics, sensor readouts and machine statistics. Together, the streaming of all this data is too difficult to process using traditional applications. However, when compiled and used correctly, big data is a good thing. It can enable manufacturing businesses to make improved decisions based on past, real-time and expected behavior.

Finding the means to analyze big data poses challenges to manufacturing companies, and what separates a top manufacturer from the rest of the pack is the ability to implement the right policies and procedures from the start. Top performing manufacturers have been choosing software solutions to maintain big data for better decision making.

Software solutions for manufacturers have made the large data analysis accessible and easy. Companies applying big data analytics makes viewing big data no longer an issue, but instead an opportunity. Manufacturers are diving into their big data by managing the information and turning it into usable and profitable business strategies –  from analyzing customer behavior to resolving complications on the production line.

In the Aberdeen Group’s study, “Data Management for BI: Big Data, Bigger Insight, Superior Performance,” it was stated that selecting an appropriate data software and integrating it throughout an organization can help manufacturers turn their big data into profit and push their companies in the right direction. For instance, consumer product manufacturers are using software to better understand consumer habits to deliver improved and individualized customer service. Likewise, supply chain manufactures are using single software solutions to know when a product ships, if there is a delay and other information sources for inventory in-transit.

When manufacturers find a software solution to systematize their big data, they must evaluate their data volume, variety, velocity and value.


Volume of data can be intimidating. It includes transaction-based data stored for years as well as a variety of other graphical, textual, other forms of data. This massive repository can create extensive data storage issues. With an appropriate software solution, manufacturers will have the space available to hold the extensive sets of data in a manner that is optimally structured for both security controls and ease of access. Space allows manufacturers to create and store data in digital form, allowing the information collected to be more detailed and accurate. Detailed and accurate data will pull relevant company information to build reports, adding value to all information collected.

The Aberdeen Group’s study stated companies that create a role-based access to data, and allow the right roles in the company to view big data relevant to their area, reduced unnecessary data infrastructure. For instance, prioritized access to financial reporting data or customer data gives the appropriate end-users and decision-makers the required information to execute business practices and strategies.


Data comes in all formats and not all of it is numeric. Identifying the variety of data collected can give manufacturers the ability to analyze more efficiently and have the tools for gaining a larger insight into decision making.

According to the Aberdeen Group, companies that use software and technologies that focus on the discovery and organization of the assortment of data are able to ask better questions and identify important business opportunities.


Velocity is a term used to describe how fast data is produced and how fast this data must be available for decision-making. Real-time software solutions react quickly enough for manufacturers that face velocity challenges.

Real-time software allows a manufacturer the ability to quickly reassess the opportunities and risk, manage complex product solution portfolios, and understand future possibilities in minutes.


Data flows can be inconsistent, but it is important that the data collected is structured to produce high-quality and up-to-date information that will be useful to a manufacturer. Properly structuring data repositories provides the abilities to leverage big data to make decisions that can transform your manufacturing business.

Leading manufacturers find value in big data to identify customers who matter most and drive new strategies for customer acquisition and retention. This is key to improving recurring revenues with existing customers as well as the identification of new customers and new markets worthy of attention.

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