The growth of digital data is accelerating at an exponential pace. With the ability to collect real-time data on everything – from customer identities to advertising ROI, companies are increasingly overwhelmed by the copious amount of data and what to do with it. In the era where high velocity and high variety big data takes over, should companies embrace or resist it?
Being able to efficiently sieve through and find crucial gems of data in ever-growing data warehouses can mean the difference between success and failure in today’s breakneck speed business world. And this fact is certainly not lost to the corporate world.
BIG DATA IS GROWING BIGGER
In a recent Big Data Executive Survey1, 70% of respondents reported that Big Data is of critical importance to their firms, up from 21% in 2012; and 54% of firms claimed that they have appointed a Chief Data Officer, up from 12% in 2012 – reaffirming the growing importance of data-driven decisions.
Where data analytics is concerned, every company’s data needs are different and there is no cookie cutter approach which can fully satisfy everyone’s needs. Most companies simply hire more data analysts to deal with the deluge of data. Resultantly, the shortage of skilled analysts is evident. The World Economic Forum2 predicts that data analysts will become increasingly essential to all industries by 2020.
MORE DATA ANALYSTS = BETTER INSIGHTS?
However, hiring more data analysts to make sense of data is not a sustainable approach as the pace of data proliferation easily surpasses the number of skilled analysts available in the market. To make matters worse, companies often have no modus operandi when storing the increasing warehouses of data. Disparate sources of data from the sales, customer service, finance and marketing teams often sit in silos, making it time consuming for the analyst to wrangle data from different data pipelines and even more difficult for the C-level to devise business strategy. It is also not uncommon for reporting to be a race to churn out statistics as quickly as possible. Consequently, a final output devoid of real insight and no more than a messy landscape of numbers, which begs the question “Now what”, results.
THE DATA GAME IN PLAY
Truth is, to stay ahead in the data game, companies first need to ensure that their tools and processes are aligned with their strategic goals before thinking about managing the data to provide clarity to the most important business questions. There, we said it. But it really sounds simpler than it works – if you consider the factors involved.
The Identification of Business Metrics to Track
To design a productive reporting function that fits into data-driven decision-making workflows and processes, key goals have to be determined by asking and answering serious questions such as “What really drives the business bottom line?” or “What is the founder’s vision?”
The Attitude Towards New Tools and Workflows
To help analysts arrive at critical business insights faster and better, workflows and decision support technologies need to evolve. And investment in reporting technologies has to be perceived as a value-adding function instead of a cost function because companies which are stuck in their old ways of reporting will be rendered redundant soon since they will never be able to extract business insights as fast as computers.
The Upgrading of Human Capital Deliverables
According to the Harvard Business Review3, “a new generation of data professionals is now emerging. They have grown up using statistical techniques and languages like Hadoop and R, and as they enter the workplace in greater numbers, traditional approaches to data management and analytics will have to give way to these new techniques.” For one, it is a matter of time before manual processes involving exporting and combining data across spreadsheets will become obsolete.
PLAY THE BIG DATA GAME RIGHT
The data evolution trend is still nascent. Instead of resisting it and sticking to existing processes, why not leave it to the experts to delve deeper into the core of your business and help you prepare for the future? And it doesn’t necessarily entail hiring data analysts. You could choose to go with a third party data analytics technology platform like Nugit, which provides easy-to-read high-frequency insights that enables you to think critically about the data you see and how it connects to your larger business goals.
But no matter your final decision, this is definitely the time to get into the big data game and cultivate your love for it!