Welcoming a data analysis reality

PBT Group thought leadership

Analysing data has become integral to the success of any business in the digital environment. But despite its importance, there are still those who struggle to come to terms with big data and how to reap the rewards of its associated benefits.

Big data is hardly a new phenomenon. Many cite the arrival of tablets and smartphones as the defining moment that set the wheels in motion of our reliance on data and extracting insights from it to develop more customer-centric solutions. But even before that, we had the internet. This created an enabling environment for people to generate massive amounts of information either from a content perspective or from providing feedback.

So, if this has been around for many years, why the sudden interest in big data? For one, companies are realising that they need to find value in the massive amounts of data they have stored in their corporate back-end, whether that is hosted on-site or in the cloud.

In data-rich environments like finance it is easy to see why better analysis can result in more bespoke solutions. However, big data transcends industry and even company size.

A man for all seasons

No longer the exclusive reserve of enterprises, data analysis has become accessible to organisations of all sizes. From start-ups to SMEs, being able to extract value from data is a critical function of a competitive organisation. Cost is no longer an obstacle to overcome.

In part, the likes of cloud computing and machine-learning can be thanked for this. As more companies embrace and adopt newer technologies, so too do they become more cost-effective for others to implement. Using the cloud as a platform for growth also means the organisation has additional resources to perform data analysis and understand what the specific needs are of their various customer segments.

One of the key considerations to make when it comes to data analysis is whether there is commitment from the C-suite. Having the organisation support the understanding of data means the different divisions inside a business can more effectively go about the task at hand.

Regulatory affairs

Even though data analysis provides numerous opportunities to differentiate the organisation from its competitors, complying with regulatory requirements should remain top of mind.

Given that the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPI) will be law from next year, companies need to carefully consider how they store, analyse and share data. For some, it might mean re-evaluating existing processes whilst others might just need to fine-tune some elements. Irrespective, it needs to be the ‘guiding light’ when it comes to analysis.

Organisations need to understand that the age of data analysis is well and truly underway. How best they decide to embark on the journey remains up to them, but they need to embrace it or risk losing their relevance.

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