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Innovations Software Authors: John Katrick, Stackify Blog, Lana Tannir, Sumith Kumar Puri, Rolando Kahn

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Actionable Insights: Big Data into Big Change | @BigDataExpo #BigData

An actionable insight is a strategic change implemented from the data analyzed through our predictive algorithm-based platform

Actionable insights (or actionable data) can be defined as "a technology solution that inhales large quantities of data (big data) and exhales strategic action from that data." Whether it's purely software or in combination with hardware, big data and the resulting insights present monstrous opportunities to optimize operational strategies and understanding of both people and the world they inhabit.

Specifically at Scanalytics, an actionable insight is a strategic change implemented from the data analyzed through our predictive algorithm-based platform. In other words, we take the big data collected by our smart floor sensors, simplify and sort it in a way that makes it meaningful, and present it to the business so they can understand their performance and take action on the results. Data metrics can relate to staff efficiency, daily foot traffic or in-store conversion rates by identifying not only where exactly visitors are but how long they spend in a specific area. This is only the first half of the story, however.

The second half - where the "actionable" part comes in - emerges after the data has been collected and analyzed. The key is to formulate it in a way that makes trends and abnormalities obvious and easy to act on by adding context to the scenario. Businesses need the ability to track metrics in real-time and across historical time periods through an easy-to-use dashboard, enabling them to proactively take on opportunities the moment they present themselves. For example, a retailer wanted to test a new floor plan with an "engagement room" and gridded the space with floor sensors to measure customer engagement in that area. They were able to truly analyze their performance and make a decision on an enterprise-wide roll out based on the foot traffic received comparable to other areas of the store.

Big data is not just for monitoring and identifying trends in consumer behavior; it is applied to a multitude of scientific studies. For instance, Swedish scientist Hans Rosling recently used big data and insights to generate a substantial argument on why saving children in poverty would not contribute to global overpopulation. Using statistical insights, Rosling discusses how poorer families produce more children because they experience higher death rates, while wealthier families have less children because there is a decreased risk of child casualties. So, educating children in poverty will bring them up economically decreasing the need to produce more offspring when they grow up, thereby reducing overpopulation. Rosling's research is just one example of the millions of applications big data addresses and why the actionable insights produced are so crucial to our advancement.

Actionable insights generated from Big Data have created an entirely new dimension of analyzing behavior, understanding trends and optimizing physical spaces. Those who adopt meaningful analytics practices will no doubt see improvements in both online and offline worlds by making better connections with customers, and bypass the endless guessing game when it comes to understanding their evolving market.

More Stories By Rolando Kahn

Rolando Kahn is a writer at Scanalytics Inc. with a passion for technology and all things marketing. Blogging, social media, and technical writing are all components of the bigger puzzle he's spearheading at a leading "Internet of Things" business. He is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee with a degree in Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies.