How Starbucks and other businesses benefit from big data analysis

Big data is enabling companies to make more accurate decisions and predictions on how their business is operating. Here are four benefits to embracing data in your business.
4 May 2018

Starbucks uses data wisely to understand where to open stores. What can you do with it? Source: Shutterstock

Today we are drowning in data; the amount that is being produced and accessed is growing at a rapid pace, projected to double every two years until 2020.

An increasing amount of tools and services are now available to businesses looking to harness the power of this data. Big data analytics software is projected to reach almost US$200 billion in revenue by 2019, which shows just how prevalent the adoption rate is.

Big data analytics has transformed what were once business decisions based on gut-instinct to fine-tuned, data-driven decisions.

But how exactly can big data benefit your business? Here are four examples which will be sure to make you want to dive deep into your data!

1. Data drives productivity

When it comes to both individual and team performance, data can be a valuable ingredient to drive productivity. It allows management to discover areas for improvement as well as help employees to become more vigilant of their work habits and activities in order to get better.

This data can be an on-going resource for businesses which will continuously reveal new pathways to improvement as additional and better data is collected.

A “Workplace Trends” report by Sodexo points to one example of an insurance company who was able to tap into the productivity-boosting value of data.

After analyzing group productivity data, they discovered that work-from-home employees were 18 to 22 percent more productive than their in-office counterparts. From this information, the company decided to implement a work-from-home policy which survived multiple leadership changes based on the strong evidence of increased productivity.

Big data can inform you of employee productivity levels. Source: Shutterstock

2. Data can identify ‘new business’ risks

Through the utilization of big data, businesses are able to make sound and smart evaluations of new business decisions.

For instance, data can help inform businesses on things such as whether setting up a business in a certain location or for a particular target audience would be viable or not.

Starbucks is an example of a company which uses big data to help them determine whether opening up a franchise in a certain location would be viable. The decision is based on information such as location, area demographics, traffic, and customer behavior.

The assessment of this data helps the coffee-house giant make sound estimates of success, and from this choose locations.

3. Data equals smarter recruitment

Finding the right candidate to join your business can be incredibly challenging due to factors such as talent shortages and skill gaps.

Big data is enabling businesses to make smarter hiring choices. Source:

But the harnessing the power of big data can truly help businesses make better decisions when trying to fill a position. A Deloitte report on corporate talent and leadership calls this “data-driven people decision-making”.

Services such as Xerox from Evolv are helping businesses make better hiring decisions by applying predictive analytics to over 500 million data points, including employment records and social media usage. Using this data, businesses are able to evaluate and rank candidate based on their potential.

What used to be a decision based on a gut-instinct can now be transformed into a data-driven approach.

4. Data puts you ahead of competitors

With the valuable insights that can be arrived from analysis of big data, if you aren’t already using it, then you’re already falling behind your forward-thinking competitors.

In a recent article published on Inc, Martin Zwilling, Founder and CEO of Startup Professionals, discussed the importance of data and analytics in being the key to business evolution.

According to Zwilling, instead of viewing data and analytics as just a measurement device on current results, businesses must leverage it to evolve the business strategy and direction.

“Certainly it’s important to optimize current operations, but in this age of rapidly changing demands and competitors, it’s more important to change quickly as the market changes,” he writes in the article.

The adoption of big data is rapidly increasing among companies. According to one study, this adoption reached 53 percent in 2017 for those companies interviewed- up from 17 percent in 2015.

The true advantage of data is that it can provide businesses with insights that they didn’t know before. As your competitors learn more about valuable industry findings, you will need to learn too.

And big data isn’t just limited to big companies with big budgets. There are great tools available to help even the smallest of businesses use data to their advantage.

“Don’t be one of the many small businesses I see that crawls along at a snail’s pace, and ultimately gets stepped on by the competition. Keep your eye on the data and the analytics,” says Zwilling.