Drinking from the well of data. How can businesses make the most of rapid data production?

Author:Richards, Greg

It will probably come as no surprise that the global production of data is set to continue its rapid year-on-year growth into the foreseeable future. However, reports have shown that many global companies fail to act effectively on available data. Here, Greg Richards, Marketing and Sales Director of business intelligence specialist Connexica, explains how businesses can create a data-driven culture.

There is a famous saying that goes, "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink". This idiom rings true of the modern digital landscape, where businesses have vast quantities of data available but all too rarely take full advantage of it. In fact, research firm Gartner predicted in 2009 that more than 35 per cent of the top 5,000 global companies would regularly fail to make insightful decisions from their data.

The big data revolution and the wealth of software solutions on the market add extra layers of complexity to businesses hoping to build a data-driven culture. However, senior information and analytics managers must take the correct steps to navigate these complexities and prepare for the data challenges of tomorrow.

Insight to outcomes

To get the most out of an analytics strategy, CIOs should first plan how they are going to transform data into insight, then into outcomes. This may require going beyond the standard data sets and exploring some of the unstructured data that analytics software has collated. The benefits of tapping into the large volumes of unstructured data such as photos, videos and audio clips cannot be understated.

Other factors are also important, such as determining access speeds to certain data sets to ensure that data still has value when analysed. The "best-before" date on data is constantly shortening thanks to the constant stream of new data being generated across the world. This means that business leaders need to understand what data sets are vulnerable to this shortened shelf life and take the appropriate measures to get timely or real-time access to this data.

It's not uncommon to see organisations deploy analytics strategies only to be disappointed with the results they achieve. Putting in the groundwork to plan...

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