It’s been said that big data analytics is just a fad and, like most other IT trends that have come and gone, will soon depart the revolving door that is IT innovation. Although an easy assumption to make based on decades of short-lived notions, big data is breaking the mold. According to the Forbes article, “Big Data: 20 Mind-Boggling Facts Everyone Must Read”, more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race and has showed no signs of slowing down. In fact, it has been projected that by 2020 about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second—for every single human being on the planet. Meaning, our current accumulation of roughly 4.4 zettabytes of data will reach a staggering 44 trillion gigabytes in a mere 4 years.
While it’s doubtful that any of today’s enterprises would deny its benefits, the reality is that a large majority of these enterprises have not, and likely will not, fully embrace the concept of big data analytics due to the historically low shelf life of IT trends. This is a mistake.
As our world continues to become more digitally connected and technology continues to assimilate further into business culture, organizations will have access to vast amounts of consumer data. With the ability to leverage actionable insight in terms of consumer behavior and preferences, big data analytics enables organizations to engage with key target markets more intelligently and more effectively than ever before. However, in order to fully exploit big data analytics, businesses must possess three mutually supportive capabilities that allow them to aggregate, interpret, and apply this data in a way that facilitates improved and strategic decision making.
Multiple Data Sources
The volume of information is growing rapidly, and as such, organizations must take advantage of various data sources in order to gain both high-level and granular visibility into their business environment. Often times, companies possess the necessary data to address various business and market challenges, but do not leverage the analytical resources needed to generate key insights. From operations and finance to sales and marketing, each department within an organization must use the data available to them to identify areas where efficiencies can be gained and apply key findings to ensure that all systems, processes, and initiatives cohesively align with the overall business strategy.
The Right Technology
Although the rise of data has enabled modern enterprises to take a more educated and targeted approach to strategy development, many are still restricted by legacy systems that do not offer the sourcing, storage, and analytical capabilities needed to support this surge in information. While it’s unrealistic to expect organizations to overhaul their infrastructure environments as quickly as new data surfaces, CIOs and IT leaders can work to prioritize the areas in which effective data analysis would deliver the most value. This method of IT transformation allows businesses to take advantage of big data analytics while also providing the flexibility to do so gradually over time.
It’s one thing to be able to aggregate big data, but it’s an entirely different beast to effectively interpret big data. While it’s critical to have an effective data management system in place, it’s equally as important to have a deployment strategy that helps an organization to realize its business goals. As is with all other newly implemented technologies, adoption is vital to success. Ensuring that an organization’s leadership team understands the competitive advantage that can be gained from leveraging big data analytics, and the steps that need to be taken to effectively mine, analyze, and interpret intelligent data is essential to remaining competitive in today’s digital business landscape.
Digital data volumes are projected to double every two years for the foreseeable future, and far too many companies are sitting on a gold mine of untouched consumer data. As we move deeper into the age of the customer, modern enterprises must adopt the necessary systems, tools, and processes to better compete in today’s digital world. Leveraging big data analytics and aligning key insights with business strategy will allow organizations to deliver a more personalized, targeted, and improved consumer experience.
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