Using Analytics to Discover the Business in Your Data

Using Analytics to Discover the Business in Your Data

Every year, the amount of data being created continues to grow at a tremendous pace. According to IDC, by the end 2015, the global annual rate of data production is expected to reach a staggering 5.6 zettabytes. Businesses can either use this ocean of information to grow faster or miss the opportunity.

Businesses looking to put their data to use, need to bring together their Big Data and Enterprise Data Streams so that all the data can be seamlessly accessed and analyzed.

It's also prudent to adopt a 2-way approach to gain most from your data – use data to seek operational insights that will help you achieve business goals, and explore your data to uncover hidden trends and patterns.

To maximize the impact of your data analytics efforts, it's essential to put a strong foundation in place. It involves 3 steps:

1. Align functional areas around business goals

Various Business units such as marketing, IT and finance need to outline & agree upon mutually beneficial business objectives and outcomes to enable continuous improvements, and drive your company's growth. This will allow your company to select proper data and technologies to move forward.

2. Create a data supply chain

The next step is to establish a data supply chain to organize and analyze data and accelerate it to insight. It can be a data service platform consisting of emerging data analytics technologies, built on a hybrid technology environment. Such a platform will enable businesses to regularly gather, organize, analyze and act on data across the organization, faster than ever before. Such increased access and interactivity of data will empower users to access the data they need when they need it and transform it into insights at a much more rapid pace.

3. Use a data discovery platform

A data discovery platform can enable businesses to quickly uncover hidden insights in your data, explore it to test various hypotheses about trends & patterns, and discover new opportunities to grow your business performance. It can be something that employs sophisticated machine learning techniques or something as simple as a data visualization tool.

According to Accenture's Big Data Research, businesses don't need to go for a big data project of huge magnitude to start seeing value in their data, they can begin with a proof of concept or a pilot to obtain impressive results. If your initial experiment is successful, you can scale up your environment to handle the full load of Big Data. This way, the total cost of your project goes down drastically. Also, you can use a fail-fast model to explore many possibilities for your analysis before deciding to fund an initiative.

It can be challenging to determine the first project that needs to be pursued, but no matter which direction a business takes, it should present a solid opportunity for your customers, stakeholders and employees.

Here are some of the analytics can be used to achieve business results:

Increase profit

Incorporating insights based on pricing data into daily business processes can enable organizations to make strategic decisions with greater confidence, and grow profits. These insights can tell you how your customers and competitors respond to various pricing strategies. It gives you immediate feedback that can be used to optimize your pricing and maximize sales. For example, using an analytics-based pricing strategy, a leading European food retailer was able to improve the frequency of price updates in real time and gain a better understanding of the competition. It led to an increase in sales and profit, and improved price perception among customers.

Optimizing talent among employees

Applying analytics to HR areas can lead to improved employee productivity and performance, and even help you predict which workforce investments and changes can produce the best results.

Improve IT's operational efficiency

An organization's IT environment typically generates Terabytes of data about change & event logs, system metrics and other operational data. This makes it possible to obtain extremely granular data about the current & past state of your IT environment. However, the key is to make this data actionable. Data Analytics can provide useful insights and improve the domain understanding of IT operations. This will provide IT operations teams visibility into the behavior of business systems, allow them to automatically identify and isolate critical events, such as system changes, that have the potential to disrupt existing systems. It empowers IT operations to quickly determine the best way to restore systems, meet performance standards and availability expectations.

Intelligent supply chain systems

Business are transforming data derived from networked supply chains into valuable information with the help of analytics and smart apps. This information is being used to enable decision making as items move along the various stages of supply chain - sourcing, production, shipping, storage, sales and fulfillment.

Although the amount of available data is increasing rapidly, so are the growth opportunities. Analytics is the tool that enables organizations to gain meaningful insights from their data, identify growth opportunities, and make data-driven decisions. It's only when you act upon those decisions you'll realize the true value of your data.

Article written by Sreeram Srinivasan
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