We are experiencing a deluge of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data. Joining conventional enterprise data sources such as market data, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Human Capital Management (HCM) is data from sensors on oil rigs, aircraft, medical equipment, etc. As if that were not enough, network logs, traffic monitoring systems, video cameras in stores and public places, GPS devices and online click streams, mobile chatter and social media interaction and even seemingly ordinary objects like washing machines and set top boxes are throwing up valuable data.
This data is being shipped in real time to locations, where it is worked upon, using wireless networks that are growing in capacity and capability. Almost magically, the data is being turned into exceptionally insightful intelligence which is effectively being utilized by enterprises in ways that are making them leap over the competition. To substantiate this observation, researchers at MIT have reported that organizations using data and analytics show productivity rates and profitability improvements that are 5-6% higher than those of their peersi
But the big shift that is happening is with regards to the pervasiveness with which the technologies surrounding Big Data and Analytics are being used. President Obama hired over 50 analytics experts and data scientists to shape a campaign that would induce voters to select him; 41+ million data points were analyzed at Wimbledon to identify playing patterns and styles to predict, before each match, what players need to do to win; McLaren engineers are analyzing real-time telemetry data sent by 160 sensors on their Formula 1 cars to reach decisions that help their teams stay at the rewarding pole position. The technology has the potential to even predict street crime, traffic jams, and major footfall at retail checkouts.
Sooner, rather than later, businesses are going to sit down and take a hard look at their approach to Big Data and Analytics. What is it they must consider when crafting their strategy? Regardless of business size, I believe there are four fundamentals a business must consider:
- Create the role of a Chief Data Officer: CDO is the chief custodian of data. The role requires that sources of data within and outside the organization be identified. The role is also entrusted with creating the roadmap to extract maximum value from the data.
- Put data on the official balance sheet: Data is an asset. The organization must put a value on the data it owns and report it in its balance sheet.
- Create a charter to govern data: This will bring order to the way data is managed and deployed across the organization, helping extract maximum value.
- Build a culture that leverages analytics: Employees must be trained to use data and apply analytics to everyday problem solving. This will ensure decisions are more accurate and reliable.
There is no doubt about the future role of Big Data and Analytics. In fact, the future is already here! If you don’t have a Big Data and Analytics strategy in place, you may find competition rapidly racing past you.