MUCH has been written about the power and potential of Big Data and predictive analytics. According to the head of analytics for FNB Business, global challenges and developments are putting more pressure on key business sectors that are sensitive to economic cycles. As a result, the insights gathered from Big Data can help solve some of the biggest global business challenges. Many of these are also applicable to the sphere of government and policy-making.
Emerging economies need to harness the power of Big Data as this can give governments a bird’s eye view and accurate information allowing evidence-based policies to be implemented. Evidence-based policy making is gaining importance in several African countries. Networks of researchers and policy makers in Malawi, Uganda, Cameroon, SA, Kenya, Ghana Benin and Zimbabwe are working hard to ensure credible evidence reaches government officials in time, and are also building the capacity of policy makers to use the evidence effectively.
If African governments want to use evidence-based policy making, they need data. Traditionally this would come from long, manpower intensive and costly studies performed by an academic institution or NGO. Technology that has the ability to extract data in real-time from high volume transaction sectors provides a much easier and more efficient solution when it comes to evidence-based policy making. In this era of Big Data there cannot be any excuse for government agencies to lack the appropriate tools for better regulation and evidence-based policy-making — sorely lacking in most governments.
There are many benefits accurate data can bring, and the more data there is the more accurate it is. According to FNB Business there are several sectors that could benefit from the use of Big Data.
The agricultural industry can utilise data predominantly to increase operational efficiency. In many countries faced with drought conditions and other natural disasters, the agricultural sector needs, more than ever, to optimise what it has, with the assistance of technology and Big Data. Large scale farmers could implement a system that informs them when their equipment needs repairs or fuel. This can be combined with data on weather patterns, soil conditions, the crops to be planted to develop a formula to determine the best time and place to plant and harvest. Even the most optimal route to plough a field can be gathered from the insights, leading to increased productivity and revenue. Big Data can be used to forecast demand for crops, yield on crops as well as potential land size and usage. When aggregated across geographical regions, this data can be of significant assistance to individual farmers.
The financial services industry can use Big Data analytics to increase their revenue, decrease costs and increase customer satisfaction and retention.