The emergence of powerful big data tools that are able to present actionable data to businesses in real-time, and the growing use of the Internet of Things (IoT), are among the biggest trends being seen in the analytics industry at the moment.

But in order to make the most of this, businesses will have to shift their mindset in order to place data at the heart of their operations. This is the view of Jeff Kelley, big data analyst at research and analytics company Wikibon, who told Tech Republic this will require different ways of approaching application development and how professionals look at their business.

He noted that corporations are turning towards big data because of a growing need for insight that can be immediately applied to business decisions. One example of this in is online advertising, where companies equipped with real-time analytics can serve visitors with the most relevant ads based on profiles developed by their big data solutions.

"Customers now expect personalisation when they visit websites," Mr Kelley said, adding this is just one example of a specific industry vertical that demands real-time analytics capabilities.

Financial services is another sector where fast results from big data are now crucial to success, as they can help cut fraud without impacting on customer service.

Mr Kelley noted that a few years ago, if a customer tried to use a debit card in another country, it would often automatically be declined over fears of fraud.

"Now these systems better understand each customer's habits and the places that he is likely to travel to, so they do a better job at preventing fraud, but also at enabling customers to use their debit cards without these cards being locked down for use when they travel abroad," he continued.

This ability to harness real-time data is only set to grow in the coming years due to the emergence of IoT solutions, which will become a much bigger part of everyday life. This will allow many more companies to take advantage of sensor-equipped products, both in consumer and business environments.

However, this will present challenges to many organisations, as harnessing IoT data and converting it into useful output will be highly complex. But if this IoT data can be effectively captured in real time and acted upon, companies can create solutions such as preventative maintenance analytics that are able to predict performance problems on equipment and appliances.

In turn, this can translate to higher levels of service for customers, while businesses could deliver more rigorous service level agreements due to their enhanced ability to stop problems before they arise, Mr Kelley continued.

This is one example of how businesses could transform the way they operate and interact with customers as the result of real-time big data analytics and the IoT, with regards to offerings such as service contracts, warranties and other elements of customer service.

Mr Kelley stated the end result could be a reformation of customer relationship management solutions to a more customer-centric model that takes into account every aspect of the customer's life cycle with the company – from initial product purchases, to servicing, to end of product life considerations and a new beginning of the sales cycle.