Not having a single version of the truth for business intelligence data used for reporting—such as data about customers, products, channel partners, suppliers, and employees—slows analysis, delays action, and impedes your ability to improve business performance. Continue reading “Why’ Reporting Alone Isn’t a Strong Enough Business Intelligence Strategy” »
The beauty of information technology lies in its gradual evolution patterns, from client server technology to mainframes and today we talk about Cloud computing and Big Data. At various interval of time, IT has always provided answers to some of the critical business problems. To be very specific about master data management, the evolution was based on various factors like growing online transactional processes, expanding enterprise data; need to translate business data into actionable insights and data conversion for decision making. At various stages, master data management has always been a tactical step for enterprises to make decisions based on accurate data.
We have slowly entered an age of Big Data, the buzz word that never stop buzzing around the technology circles globally. Are companies geared up to adopt Big Data? Are developed markets more responsive to Big Data? When will Indian companies unlock the Big Data potential?
The factual numbers go like this; over 92% of global CIOs have not taken their big data initiatives beyond the planning stage, according to Gartner reports. While 64% of the 720 organizations surveyed globally have big data investment plans, less than 8% have actually deployed big data technologies. “Another” 20% are piloting and experimenting: 18% are developing a strategy, and 19% are knowledge gathering. Media and communications companies are the most active investors in big data technology globally, with 39% having already invested in big data. Some 34% of banks and 32% of services firms have also already invested.
CIO’s from developed markets like US have already started adopting and harvesting business benefits of Big Data. The percentage of CIO’s from the planning stage to the implementation stage is ever increasing. Big data is at a nascent stage in India, and in the coming days they need to break the shackles to leverage the business opportunities, this will be a reality when CIO’s start realizing the importance of information.
Consider a simple example of going for a movie with your family: you send a tweet that you are going for a movie and create data; you browse through the list of movies and theaters and access data; you purchase tickets online and create data; you fill fuel on your way and swipe your card to pay, and create data; you post a review on the movie on Facebook and create data.
Just as you create and work with data throughout this activity, your credit card company, the movie theatre and fuel station also juggle with terra bytes of business and customer data on a daily basis. While this data can pose several challenges for businesses, it creates opportunities for organizations to gain insight into their customer’s buying preferences and choices.
According to a recent research report published by Gartner, Big data forces businesses to wrestle with three key strategic and operational challenges: Information Strategy, Data Analytics and Enterprise Information Management.
Here is a more detailed explanation from Gartner on each of these operational challenges. These illustrations can benefit our customers when they formulate big data strategies for their organizations. I would highly recommend all of us to read these explanations and use these references while answering big data related questions we face from our customers.
Enterprises need to harness the power of information assets. Big data is causing enterprises to find new ways to leverage information sources to drive growth. When trying to identify ways in which their enterprise can benefit from big data and why it’s important, they need to make the strategic decisions that will transform their business.
Strategy: Is their organization prepared for an information-led transformation? How will they harness big data to improve strategic decision making? They need to know which investments will deliver the most business value and ROI.
Governance: How will they govern their organization’s information assets in support of their enterprise information management (EIM) goal? Are there new expectations for information quality and management?
Talent: By 2015, Gartner predicts that 4.4 million jobs will be created around big data. Does their organization lack the “data scientist” talent required to exploit big data? How will they assemble the right teams and align skills?
Businesses need to draw more insight from big data analytics or large and complex datasets. They need to predict future customer behaviors, trends and outcomes. IT is under pressure to tap into growing quantities of data to help the business make better, informed decisions by combining new sources of big data with existing enterprise dark data. How will they uncover more customer and business insight and more data value?
Predictive Analytics: How are they using data for predictive and real-time analysis across various business domains? How can they use unstructured enterprise information and data to drive a better client experience? How are they leveraging new data types: sentiment data, clickstream data, video, images and text data?
Behavioral Analytics: How will they tap into complex data sets to create new models to drive business outcomes, decrease costs, drive innovation or improve customer satisfaction?
Data Interpretation: What new business analysis can be drawn from their data? How will IT help support insight discovery and new information trends? They need to know which data to integrate for new product innovation.
Enterprise Information Management
Information is everywhere – volume, variety, velocity – and it keeps growing. Organizations need to manage access to growing extreme information management requirements and drive innovation in rapid information processing. What are they doing with all of the data the organization collects? They have many disparate sources – from their enterprise’s “dark data” and partner, employee, customer and supplier data to public, commercial and social media data – that they need to link and exploit to its fullest value:
User expectations: Employees are demanding more access to big data sources. What’s their plan to manage access to these information sources? What are the use cases?
Costs: How can they deliver access to big data in a rapid and cost-effective way to support better decision-making?
Tools: How will they link these new sources of diverse data? They need to plan the impact on the data center. Have they identified the processes, tools and technologies they need to support big data in their enterprise?
Mckinsey calls big data “the next frontier of innovation”. Evidently, the challenges with big data are limited when compared to the opportunities it creates and the potential benefits it offers. Our creativity, knowledge and ability to contextualize and understand this data is key to deriving value from it.
A recent study conducted by Oracle Corporation in the retail sector revealed that customers are more social media savvy and the reason behind selecting a particular brand as the best brand is customer service (post sale). If you have visited Japan, Australia or India you may have seen an “Oxygen Bar.” These are establishments that sell oxygen for recreational and consumer usage…seriously. Visit www.o2bar.com.au or Google it. When I first saw the statistics below, I felt that maybe what I really need is a “free air” bar, as in free of Social Media. But this seems impossible in today’s digital world. Social Media has not only played a major role in connecting people, it has also brought a paradigm shift in the way enterprises conduct business.
Here are some quick facts about the ever-present role social media now plays in our relationships and buying decisions:
- How demand is influenced (Forecast)
- 20% of time on PCs is spent on social media. On mobile devices, people are on social media 30% of the time (Nielson)
- Consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals (Hubspot)
- Social networks influence nearly 50% of all IT decision makers (LinkedIn – learn more at TechConnect ’12)
- 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions (SproutSocial)
- Facebook is the most effective platform to get consumers talking about products (SproutSocial)
- 44% of automotive consumers conduct research on forums (Mashable)
- 81% of US respondents indicated that friends’ social media posts directly influenced their purchase decision (Forbes)
- 78% of respondents said that companies’ social media posts impact their purchases (Forbes)
It is not enough for a company to say, “I am mining social data and using Big Data technologies.” Instead companies need to clearly state and understand “What are you mining?”;”Do you understand the ROI?”; ”Do you know how it integrates with demand and pricing management?” If the answers to these questions are not clear, you may not be there yet; but should any sense of complacency arise, just ask, “Is my competitor ahead of me with social mining?”