In The Digital Age, Managing Data Is Critical For  Competitive Advantages

 Stop for just a second and think about how much data you generated today. Did you check your email? Maybe go for a run with your Fitbit? Or, maybe you’re a business that has a lot of users connecting to access and application or a data source. In today’s digital world, the challenge revolves around not just understanding how much data you’ve created; but how to use it as well.  

 Data is really important. How important is it? Well – working, manipulating, and analyzing data is now pushing forward several growing technologies. This includes AI, robotics process automation, neural networks, advanced automation and orchestration, and much more. Most of all, big data is allowing business to make better decisions impacting both the user and the overall market.

So, just how much data are we creating? The latest Cisco Cloud Index report indicates the following:

  • Big data will reach 403 EB by 2021, up almost 8-fold from 25 EB in 2016. Big data alone will represent 30 percent of data stored in data centers by 2021, up from 18 percent in 2016.
  • The amount of data stored on devices will be 4.5 times higher than data stored in data centers, at 5.9 ZB by 2021.
  • Driven by the Internet of Things, the total amount of data created (and not necessarily stored) by any device will reach 847 ZB per year by 2021, up from 218 ZB per year in 2016. Data created is two orders of magnitude higher than data stored.

Furthermore, Gartner recently pointed out that data and analytics will drive modern business operations, and not simply reflect their performance. Plus, executives will make data and analytics part of the business strategy, which will allow data and analytics professionals to assume new roles and create business growth.

With this in mind, it’s really important to pause and really think about your own business and how you leverage the valuable data that you’re creating every single day. Remember, it’s not just about being able to create this data; but rather the tools that you use to transform this data into valuable information.

That said, where do you start? How do you create competitive advantages for your own organization by leveraging data?

Start by asking questions around your business and how you interact with key data points. Maybe you’re stuck in a sales cycle. Or, maybe you just can’t improve a product or service. By leveraging big data analytics and data visualization, you can better understand inefficiencies within the business or service organization. That being said, if you’re a very small organization, it’s possible that you just don’t have enough data to work with. In those cases, analyzing both your sources of data as well as your overall business process is critical. However, for larger and mid-size company, there is oftentimes enough data points to work with. Start by understanding where you need to adjust or fix your business, and start leveraging big data to make changes. Remember, this isn’t just to improve your business, it’s to help you create real-world competitive advantages.

Next, leverage solutions which help you manage the data and create those competitive advantages. Let me take a second and talk about data warehousing. Yes, I know they’ve been around for a while. But, smart data warehouses are a bit of a newer breed. Plus, it’s critical to note that the value of a smart data warehouse continues to increase. Why? These solutions house highly valuable assets for the organization. That is, data on customers and business performance. And those organizations seeking to create competitive advantages are finding new applications for smart data warehousing every day. For example, healthcare providers using enterprise data warehouses to improve patient care and streamline operations. Or, leveraging customer data for sentiment analysis, personalization, marketing automation, sales, and customer service improvements.

As opposed to legacy solutions, modern smart data warehouses are faster, capable of supporting diverse and new data types, serve a wider range of business-critical functions, and are capable of providing actionable insights. This is so very valuable to an organization. The ability to transform data into actionable information is the biggest driving force to help understand the overall market and create competitive advantages. Imagine being able to forecast the efficiency of your systems. Or, be able to tell how well customers are interacting with various products. From there, being able to find faults or areas of optimization continuously allows you to keep your customer base happy while constantly improving your own business.

Final Thoughts

The amount of data we’re generating isn’t going to slow down. In fact, a Cisco report shows that global data center IP traffic will grow 3-fold over the next 5 years, reaching 20.6 Zettabytes (ZB) (1.7 ZB per month) by the end of 2021.

As your organization grows and evolves, it’s important to remember that every company, moving forward, will become a digital entity. From there, it’s up to you to leverage the data that you create to its fullest potential. This means working with good data analytics solutions, leveraging big data analytics, and even working with smart data warehousing to facilitate advanced capabilities. The proper utilization of data can help you stay differentiated in the market while granularly understanding what your business needs to stay competitive.

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