Who's Going to Win in 2019? 5 Companies Riding Data to the Top

Ron Corker  |

Now more than ever, knowledge is power. Data is disrupting industries and serving as the determiner of success and failure for many enterprises. In fact, economists now describe information as the fuel that drives the future.

What’s more, if data is fuel, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are the shiny, new engines propelling the advancement of business at the speed of light. Accordingly, analysts expect the global data analytics industry to meet or surpass $67 billion this year.

With these remarkable achievements in mind, the following entries highlight 5 organizations that have disrupted their industries using data to boost performance.

Winner #1: ARC Helps Air Carriers Fly High

Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) lives and breathes data. In fact, the enterprise helps air carriers transact over $80 billion in annual business. ARC’s clientele list includes big names such as Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways and Delta Air Lines as well as Expedia and other travel enterprises.

ARC collects information on over 2.2 billion annual flights and charges carriers a fee to access its database. With this information, air travel enterprises learn more about travelers’ destinations, travel time and payment methods.

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Winner #2: Cargill Helps Farmers Make a Big Deal out of Shrimp

iQuatic, a subsidiary of Cargill, hosts a mobile data tracking application that aids farmers in reducing the mortality rate of their shrimp yields. The app enables farmers to forecast shrimp pond biomass by evaluating factors such as temperature, pH balance and nutrition.

The iQuatic app works in concert with Cargill’s automated shrimp feeding system. It collects operations data and backs it up in the cloud. The resulting information allows iQuatic to deliver key metrics and predictive analytics that helps farmers to optimize shrimp health and increase profits.

Winner #3: RRD Launches a New Data Analysis Division

As an offshoot of its commercial printing and shipping operations, RR Donnelley RRD entered the shipping market, successfully building its new subsidiary into a $1 billion operation. However, the organization initially found it challenging to compete with industry giants such as FedEx and UPS.

Resultantly, RRD executives leveraged ML and big data analytics to predict variables that affect shipping rates. The company hired universities to develop proprietary algorithms and test numerous scenarios across 700 national routes until they were able to predict freight rates in real-time with 99-percent accuracy. In less than a year, RRD’s technology initiative put their shipping division in the black.

Winner #4: Merck Makes Big Leaps in Leveraging Unstructured Data

Relatively recently, healthcare goliath Merck MRK needed to leverage its core enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for manufacturing and inventory management to discover new opportunities. The enterprise developed a powerful data warehousing system called Manufacturing and Analytics Intelligence (MANTIS).

The system enabled executives who didn’t specialize in information technology to easily work with data using visualization software. At the same time, MANTIS enabled data scientists to work with the company’s proprietary information using complex simulation and modeling resources. MANTIS successfully decreased IT project resource allocation by 45%, reduced lead time by 30% and reduced inventory carrying expenses by 50%.

Winner # 5: Bechtel Uses Data to Take Construction to a New Level

In the United States, construction spending represents 13% of the gross domestic product. However, the industry has only undergone a 1% increase in productivity over the last 20 years.

Early on during the big data transformation, Bechtel executives started leveraging information to find opportunities for improvement. Using only a proof of concept, the company built what is today a 5-petabyte data lake center of excellence.

Bechtel later used photo recognition technology to inspect construction sites and classify photos for clients. The technology initiative saved the firm $2 million.

In addition, Bechtel leveraged natural language processing tools to analyze claims, contracts and request for proposals (RFPs). Using innovative technologies, the firm was empowered to reduce estimate and plan delivery times from weeks to hours.

As marketing and operations practices and technologies evolve, there is an increasing demand for specialists who can make the connection between data and human behavior. Even the best-laid plans require experts who can move ideas from concept to reality.

Data science empowers organizations to improve decision-making. It undoubtedly unearths opportunities, but without experts who can validate and organize massive amounts of information, the underlying technology has no value.

Enterprises that know how to do data right are coming out on top. They know how to find it, and they’re smart enough to employ professionals who know how to work with it. This highlights the fact that no matter how advanced technology becomes, it will always serve at the pleasure of humanity.

Despite remarkable advancements, the big data field is just in its beginnings. The companies that are getting it right now are the ones to keep an eye on in the future.

Learn More:

10 data analytics success stories: An inside look

Big Data and the Psychologist’s Role on the Analytical Team

Get to the Next Level of IT Management

Tips To Make Your Next Data Science Project A Success

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DISCLOSURE: The author is not affiliated with and has no been compensated by any of the firms mentioned in this article.

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