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Why enterprises must learn to love data

Chetan Alsisaria
22nd Aug 2017
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‘In God we trust, all others (must) bring data.’

Over the past couple of years, we’ve all learnt lessons in analytics from companies like Netflix and the key role data visualisation has played in their success. Right from improving the accuracy of predictions to selecting curated movies, Netflix has been making multi-million-dollar decisions based on data analytics. In this data-driven age, having technology and data science and being able to optimise analytics is what gives businesses (like Netflix) a competitive advantage. Today, enterprises use data-driven insights to their strategic advantage. According to a recent article in Time magazine, data is the most valuable resource in the world. It is, indeed.

Qualitative information gathered through data has emerged to be a powerful asset for businesses. In terms of video and photo data alone, every minute, over 300 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube. It’s now a question of whether businesses are ready for the potential in data analysis and use. Data volumes are exploding, growing faster than ever before. Less than one percent of data is ever analysed, so imagine the potential here. In a couple more years, businesses, large and small, will be using data analytics in some form to help them impact their businesses.

An easy way to gather actionable insights

Just like the way people process visuals faster than text, people remember and understand data more easily when it is communicated visually. With the tools and techniques available today, it is easy to bring life to data by visualisation and using analytics tools, which help in presenting data in a way that best suits an enterprise. Why stop at visual analytics when you can create interesting stories by connecting all the dots for business heads from their data and bring insight?

Businesses need to understand how best they should use the data and what advantage they can get out of data-driven decision-making. One doesn’t need to be a data scientist to understand data-driven content and analytics. While intuition is great for driving decisions, valuable information sought through data cannot be ignored. Eventually, it’s a good blend of data and intuition that helps businesses drive growth.

Understanding the holistic picture

‘In God we trust, all others (must) bring data.’

Data helps understand the what, why, and how; it also helps enterprises understand what is likely to happen. Whether it is used to analyse growth, risk, or performance, data is mined to bring out meaningful insights. Quite simply, this enables business leaders to connect the dots from multiple systems in order to see the larger picture and helps tell a story about the deep functional aspects of a business.

For analogy, it is similar to bringing billions of pixels of various colours together to create an image. Having created several such images, these images are arranged in a way to tell a story.

To give you an example, social media analysis of customers helps a retail organisation introduce promotional programmes in tandem with the interests of its customers. There are over two billion active Facebook users worldwide, giving businesses a massive opportunity to connect with a potential audience for their marketing efforts.

Data analysis helps in bringing operational efficiencies, suggests corrective actions, and eventually results in better ROI. Data combined with carefully collected feedback helps businesses understand their customers and how they’re using their product.

Larger costs associated with using and not using technology

While there are costs associated with the implementation of technology, if the process of collecting, interpreting, and applying data is viewed as a long-term initiative, then that’s half the battle won for enterprises. There are many models out there which enable businesses to start small. For instance, cloud technology provides a platform which gives enterprises a monthly output with limited expenditures. A business can expect to see positive ROI within 10–12 months with data analysis. There are huge disadvantages that come with not implementing technology in terms of decision-making, operational processes, and even retaining customers.

It is about the longer journey that an enterprise chooses to take with data analytics to move towards making better roadmap decisions and continuous improvement.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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