Big data has been a perennial focus of discussion, investment and research over the last three years. However, while leading tech giants – such as Google, Amazon and Facebook – have profited from navigating through the waves of information, many organisations are still struggling against immature technology and a lack of skilled talent to realise any tangible benefits.
2014 bore witness to further adoption of business intelligence (BI) driven strategies among enterprises. Organisations competing on analytics are to be found across all industry sectors as more enterprises seek to improve their value propositions, engage with customers on levels previously unavailable and build entirely new revenue streams.
However, Gartner reports there is still less than 30% adoption of BI throughout enterprises, as it remains the domain of professional analysts and managers viewing reports on dashboards. Further, business leaders are questioning whether big data, and analytics overall, is appropriate for the mass market or whether BI strategies will only work in organisations such as Amazon and Google – where there is a natural fit and a smoother adoption due to the prevalence of skilled resource.
Looking at the year ahead, analytics will become more sophisticated and invisibly embedded across all systems and operations among leading enterprises. Gartner predicts analytics will take ‘centre stage’ of the technology trends in 2015 as organisations look to manage and filter the vast amount of data generated through the Internet of Things (IoT), social media and wearable devices.
The key objective for analytics teams will be to deliver precise information to the right people at the right time to increase BI and optimise operational efficiency. This will be realised in apps and self-service software so that any decision maker has the ability to make smarter decisions.
However, with the obvious benefits of integrating BI throughout an organisation, the demand for analysts and data scientists continues to increase. Data science positions in particular have increased over 1000% over the last two years. Gartner suggests that the focus should shift from big data to thinking about the big questions and the big answers that analytics can provide.
Whilst big data is an enabler for analysts, it can also lead to ‘analysis paralysis’ for business decision makers, reducing the speed to which strategic decisions can be deployed due to the lack of clarity on salient metrics. Organisations could and should look to optimise their in-house data assets and integrate BI operationally as a critical priority to ensure that precious time is not wasted analysing voluminous data resources that can hinder decisions, not support them.
All data is not created equally, ensuring the quality of your own data assets through holistically integrating data asset management will ensure that analytics provide meaningful insights, not confusion.
The analytics arena has an increasing demand for multi-disciplined skill sets to drive business intelligence forward. The function of a data scientist, for example, was once occupied through co-ordination of database developers and statistical analysts. Due to the gap in skills and to improve operational efficiency, clients are seeking talent capable of both designing and manipulating their data assets.
Leading companies are building competitive strategies focused on data driven insights. Competing on analytics has become business critical regardless of industry or overall organisational strategy. Businesses must equally invest in acquiring and developing the skilled talent capable of converting their data into actionable BI.
Sourced from Mark Braund, CEO, InterQuest Group