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Data. Big Data. All Completely Irrelevant without Business Insight
January 5, 2018
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Data, data, everywhere. It’s easy to forget what the point of it all is. Yet, you can’t ignore it. It’s not going away. In fact, it’s only growing in size. And it’s about to get so big, you won’t be able to escape it. You’re going to need to deal with it. Now. In this article, we explore what it is, what it’s for and what you should be doing with it.

So, what is data? Facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.  It’s a simple principle with an extraordinarily complex application. Although not a new concept, the ‘digital age’ has given data a seat at the boardroom table, with many businesses investing millions in ‘data’ and their ability to collect, extract and understand it.

However, the talent gap in data science is predicted to reach 140,000 in the US alone by 2018.  Add in the relentless production of billions of data points each second by a multitude of sources, people and things, data is not only becoming a big opportunity but also a gigantic challenge.

Data: fuelling the digital age.

In the digital age, data is the fuel which is powering the technological revolution. However, unlike it’s natural resource-based counterparts, the relationship is symbiotic. So, while the digital age is fuelled by data, the digital age is also creating data – same game, new rules.

Big data. Big opportunity.

Ever wondered why some new businesses that are making losses are sold for multi-million pound sums? Or why venture capitalists invest in start-ups with a less then prosperous cash-flow? The answer is simple: data. Data has and will continue to become one of the most precious commodities of the digital age, leading some to compare its value to labour and capital. But why? If harnessed it can drive a number of unparalleled advantages:

  • The availability of real-time data drives agility, allowing businesses to address changing consumer needs before they scale – creating true consumer-centricity and market advantage.
  • The democratisation of data can empower employees to make better micro-decisions. This leads to incremental improvements in performance which equate to giant leaps at a macro scale.
  • Data allows huge strides in efficiency, giving the power to significantly reduce costs and improve operational abilities.
  • Data gives marketers the keys to creating truly compelling communications which drive utility, sales and loyalty.
  • Data can improve accuracy and efficiency of marketing and advertising, reducing costs and increasing profits.
  • Data can lift the lid on what truly drives business performance to formulate forward-thinking strategies with less risk and more return.

Data. It just got BIG.

Bigger is usually better. But only if you know what to do with it. In the case of data, never has a truer word been spoken. Data has gotten really big. Gigantic in fact. For the very first time, the prevalence of technology makes almost everything quantifiable, trackable and measurable. As a result, this generates a colossal amount of uninterrupted data points every millisecond, stretching across internal operations, business performance, consumer behaviour, and market and competitor trends.

And it’s about to get BIGGER…

The good news? It’s about to go from gigantic to super-colossal. With the impending consumer uptake of the Internet of Things and virtual and augmented reality looming, the availability and complexity of such data is about to increase in a manner never seen before –due to the fact that even more of people’s activities will occur online.

It’s predicted that data points will evolve to multi-faceted events fuelling the ability to create rich, multi-dimensional consumer profiling, way beyond the classical demographic and socioeconomic frameworks of late.

But this isn’t just about consumers. Data will facilitate the creation of new algorithmic-based operating models touching everything from HR to logistics. This will create new markets, and transform the way we do business both on and offline.

The result? Comprehensive, predictive, data-driven learning business models and organisations, exposing new opportunities and challenges for both business and the consumer.

Big data, big challenge.

However, with great opportunities come great challenges. Here are the top five we’ve identified:

  1. Analysis paralysis – too much data, not enough time and no clear course of action.
  2. Large and growing knowledge gaps in data science, insights and digital analytics that create a huge opportunity cost.
  3. Lack of data integrity – no source of truth and conflicting results, creating confusion and friction.
  4. Complexity of rules and regulations surrounding data, its usage and storage, creating new unchartered legal territory and business risk.
  5. Mistaking correlation for causation, resulting in poor decision making, which could mark the demise of entire industries.

What about the consumer?  Well, here’s the dark cloud…

As with any precious commodity, many unlawful pursuits have been enlisted to extract data from users, customers and consumers. Historically, the regulation surrounding data, how it’s kept and who can buy and sell it (in the digital context particularly) has been poor. This leads to a barrage of data abuse and proliferation of shady data-related companies.

Here’s the silver lining…

Data legislation is moving up the political agenda and bringing with it laws and measures to better protect the consumer. Progressive businesses don’t just see the value in having data, but also in protecting it and using it to deliver an enhanced consumer experience. Delivering the right message at the right time, driving value for both the business and the consumer.

So, what should you do with data?

Here’s the truth, as we see it…

We have talked a lot about data. But let’s be honest. It’s totally useless. Irrelevant some may say.

The only thing that matters, however, is INSIGHT.

Collecting, storing and maintaining data in a manner which ensures data integrity, lawfulness and usability is a cornerstone for the learning organisation of the future.

However, such activities are merely hygiene factors. The true value of data is in the creation of compelling, relevant, precise insights in a timely manner which empowers businesses to deliver a superior product, service or experience to their consumers – better and faster than their competition.

It’s about using data to drive transparency. To create an organisation which learns and evolves through testing and learning in a lean and agile manner. It’s about empowering every single person within an organisation to have an unparalleled level of clarity which drives excellence in their discipline. It’s about delivering consumer utility to a level never seen before.

The consequence? When used correctly, to fuel insight, data will deliver a ton of value. To your business, your shareholders and most importantly of all, your consumers.

9 ways we can help you exploit data more effectively

  1. Make data work for you and your vision: we correctly frame what questions need to be answered through data – and the people, technologies and processes which are required to find them.
  2. Deliver Insight over data: we distil the complexity of BIG, GIANT data, and make it small and smart – helping you define a framework for success and measurement to drive large decision-making capabilities.
  3. Empower your teams: we remove ‘analysis paralysis’ from board to shop floor with one clear view of the truth.
  4. Define an organisational structure: we help you define a structure which nourishes data science and insight.
  5. Make data and insight a key competitive advantage: we thread data throughout the cultural fibres of your business to transform it into an empowered, learning organisation of tomorrow.
  6. Understand consumer behaviour: we can help you understand consumer behaviour. Today and tomorrow.
  7. Deal with the technical side: we orchestrate information architecture and leverage business intelligence tools to meet your objectives whilst ensuring best-in-class compliance.
  8. Understand competitors and the market: we can help you obtain a comprehensive picture of the competition and potential market disruptors.

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