To a layman, the term big data may sound intimidating and unfathomable, but it is not. It’s large sets of data that when analysed computationally, reveal patterns and trends useful for decision making on a business and on a country level. This process is called big data analytics. Just like a bird flying from a tree to find grass, sticks and leaves to form a nest that it can lay its eggs on, so goes the process of capturing data to form big data which is then analysed forming the basis for decision making.
Continuous improvement of big data analytics capabilities means that industries can explain the current and predict the future easily. And as they say, numbers never lie, the use of big data ensures there is efficiency in terms of cost and productivity. It drives competitiveness and performance in key industries and an emphasis on its use is crucial in Kenya.
You may be wondering if big data and big data analytics applies to the industry you work in. Below are seven key industries in Kenya that big data analytics is currently applied:
Since news of the Coronavirus broke out, there have been continuous updates of the number of infected cases, the number of people who have healed and sadly, the number of people who have passed on due to the pandemic. This type of data has been helping areas where the virus is just starting to spread, like Kenya, in terms of decision-making and predictions. This is the power of big data analytics.
Further, big data is crucial in terms of transforming how unstructured data from health records, laboratory systems, claims systems, radiology systems are analysed. A particular patient’s medical history detailing his or her medications, treatment plans and conditions can easily be analysed to make predictions and prevent unnecessary deaths.
- Finance, Banking and Insurance
This is the most obvious guess when it comes to big data analysis application. Most companies carry out periodic auditing of all financial data to ensure everything has been running smoothly. Traditional auditing involved auditors visiting an organization to review documents and interview staff. Now in addition to the alongside, there is review of computerized systems to determine fraud. At the basis of this is big data analytics.
Banks determine how to take risks using big data analysis. They use customer data from the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) to determine credit worthiness. Mobile moneylenders also heavily rely on credit worthiness when giving out loans. On the other hand, insurers analyse big data to come up with better insurance premiums and packages as well as, identify fraudulent claims.
Agriculture is one of Kenya’s main economic sectors and big data is crucial in production, operations, imports and exports. The Daily Nation, in a recently published article, gave a breakdown of how agriculture uses big data to enhances efficiency:
“Big data does not exist in a vacuum. It is an ecology that also relies on other technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), big data, analytics, and cloud computing.
“IoT devices help in the first phase of this process — data collection. Sensors plugged in tractors and trucks as well as in fields, soil, and plants aid in the collection of real-time data directly from the ground.
“Second, analysts integrate the large amounts of data collected with other information available in the cloud, such as weather data and pricing models to determine patterns.”
There are many benefits that come with this process including waste reduction, crop yield prediction, operation and equipment management among others. Moreover, big data guides crucial aspects such as labelling, which when handled poorly can lead to life-threatening illnesses.
Large manufacturers produce goods in thousands every day. Therefore, handling of logistical data from production to distribution must be done through a computational process. It’s important to collect data then analyse and visualize data for better efficiency and decision making. Managers in the manufacturing sector heavily rely on analysed data to show patterns and prepare appropriately for changes in the market.
For example, a company manufacturing plastics in Nairobi’s Industrial Area may decide to use sensors to gather valuable data on the efficiency of their machines and products.
Kenya is one of the world’s best destination hubs and industry players rely heavily on big data to determine when to expect a large number of visitors, where they frequent and the mode of transport they use. One of the most used areas of big data analytics is in yield management, which ensures hoteliers get the best price per room in peak and off peak periods.
The importance of small and big industry players, including the government through the Kenya Tourist Board, use of descriptive and predictive analytics to explain the Tourism Sector in terms of steadily improving tourist numbers cannot be over emphasised.
From a traveller’s standpoint, services like Airbnb and Uber, which heavily rely on data, are convenient when travelling. Also, big data can give information about which airports to use by showing how busy an airport is and how close an airport is to the destination.
The use of cell phones has blown up in the recent past. From tailored apps to mobile money there’s continuous use of data in the telecoms sector. Telecommunication service providers continue to use big data to understand their customers’ trends and come up with services that meet client needs.
The telecommunications industry is one of the few industries with the capacity to invest fully in big data analytics in Kenya and it’s paying off. This is attested by the many innovations released from the sector.
This is the buying and selling process. A retailer needs to invest in collecting data that will inform how to meet customer needs.
[Check out our article on customer analytics here]
With more and more investment in supermarket chains in Kenya, data analytics applied at every stage of the retail process ensures competitiveness for successful retailers as their ability to predict what to offer for their customers improves.
There are many other sectors in Kenya that use big data analytics and it’s a crucial step in driving potential. While implementation may be complex, having a big data analytics system will increase efficiency and productivity for your business. If you want to understand how you can collect and analyse big data computationally, talk to us here.
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