Big Data: What is It and What am I Supposed to do with it?

Businesses have to sift through information and data on a daily basis. Whether it contains details to important customer information, order status or marketing results, data is a crucial part of “doing business”. It provides insight into your customers and visibility into your company. What many businesses don’t know, however, is that important data often goes unused.

The emergence of big data has drastically changed the way businesses operate, particularly those in the industrial, retail, financial, and healthcare industries. Big data allows companies to analyze non-traditional data sets that were previously inaccessible to businesses, giving them more information to make better, more informed business decisions.

Recent studies, however, have shown that businesses are delaying important decisions due to the vast amount of data coming into the business. Many companies do not possess the tools to sift through this information quickly and easily; therefore, important decisions are being placed on-hold and the business is becoming stagnant. In order to effectively gain value from all of this data pouring into the business, companies need to learn how to properly manage and measure big data.

Companies who know how to leverage big data effectively will experience significant business benefits and see the value big data can bring to a business. In order to do this, businesses must employ a holistic approach to data management and focus on the following steps in the data lifecycle:

  • Identify Data Sources. Today’s businesses are digital, meaning all business activities generate important business data. Every customer and employee interaction produces digital information that gets stored in the company’s business management system. The first step toward creating business value, therefore, is to prepare the business to quickly adapt to new data sources and then identify where the data is coming from, who is creating it, and where it is being stored.
  • Filter the Information Effectively. The second step to deriving business value from big data is to determine the information that matters to your business and the information that does not. It will do your business no good to track invaluable information. Create tools and policies designed to help your staff filter through the information to find relevant (and important) data, and consider how your employees will use the data.Next, you need to identify the necessary filters, ways to categorize the data, and establish processes so both your employees and customers are accountable for the information they are creating.
  • Distribute the Data. You will need to utilize a data distribution method that is both automated and intelligent. Your business data will need to be distributed to various departments, levels in the company, and business locations. Make sure that you can effectively distribute the necessary information to the right people accordingly.
  • Apply Business Data. A successful business must evolve from analysis to insight and prediction. Making sure that you apply the right data in the right instance is crucial to your business’s success and important to gaining value from big data. Some companies may even find ways to monetize business data and create new opportunities for growth.

Developing a data culture where all employees, partners and company executives are active participants in managing data is crucial. One way to do this is by investing in a Business Intelligence (BI) solution. Business intelligence tools can provide you with valuable insight into your data so you can make strategic business decisions. Business intelligence can integrate directly into your company’s ERP or other financial and accounting software system so you don’t have to worry about managing separate systems. Business intelligence will capture big data and turn it into reports and information you can understand, allowing you to take full control of your company’s data once again.

If you would like more information about business intelligence and how we can help you create the customized reports you need, contact us today.

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