Adopting a 'Back-to-School' Mentality to Data and Analytics

Andy McCartney's picture
 By | september 05, 2017
september 05, 2017

Many in the world are concluding their annual preparation for getting kids back to school, refreshing supplies of clothes, shoes, books and back packs. Perhaps it is also a time to stand back and consider refreshing your perspective on data, its origins, and its value.

We are living in a world of dramatic accelerations in many areas, such as technology, globalization, connectivity, automation, climate concern, and population growth. We are all looking for new ways to either survive or flourish as ever-increasing change disrupts, and even threatens our existence.

Looking at these areas of change, one commonality is the amount of data that drives them and enables their monitoring and management. Data is captured and utilized to improve decision-making and performance, whether it is Internet of Things (IoT) sensor data predicting failures, automated market trading, climate modeling, network optimization, or proactive population healthcare. Data is key to almost everything that surrounds us.

Data is within and all around our businesses too. For decades we have been capturing and analyzing 'traditional' data related to business operations and transactions, whether sales, marketing, HR, customer service, IT, finance, manufacturing, or supply-chain. What is happening is that we have new business data sources, and an expansion of traditional sources, too. For example, marketing is needing to blend social media data sources as another way to determine brand and product interest, or manufacturing being able to monitor sensors at every step of the production line for optimization.

Perhaps it is time to stand back and consider your overall data strategy, with so many sources, so much more volume, and much more of it available in real time. Fundamental shifts in the types of data are in play too - up to 90 percent of captured data in the world is regarded as unstructured, requiring new methods and infrastructure to store, cleanse, and analyze. How can we, within organizations, maximize the wealth of data around us in order to execute smarter, faster data-driven business?

At Information Builders we practice what we call 'progressive data management'. A more holistic approach is needed to integrate and contextualize all the possible data sources that will be of value today and in the near future. Progressive data management refers to the notion that all data needs to be managed and that organizations, for the most part, are in different stages of their maturity in managing that data. Information Builders software provides the ability to integrate, cleanse, govern, and master any and all data using a staged and best practice approach. Our iWay and Omni data management products are designed around automating and reducing the inherent complexity of data integrity and data integration.

Our WebFOCUS business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform is able to leverage mastered data from all data sources for historical, predictive, and prescriptive analysis. WebFOCUS is flexible for many user types, whether an executive monitoring all performance aspects of an organization, or an operational worker responding to real-time alerts, or a reselling partner leveraging your data for sales execution.

In conclusion, organizations are becoming increasingly data-driven, both operationally and analytically, and this requires different data and integration paradigms. Traditional approaches to data management and analytics are not flexible enough for today’s business. As you prepare to refresh for going back to school, think about how to refresh your strategies for becoming more data-driven too.