Though the use of big data remains a huge challenge for many businesses, those with more advanced capabilities are beginning to shift the emphasis from volume of data to speed of analytics.
As analytical processes gain more velocity companies are able to gain a competitive advantage by using data in a way that significantly impacts business performance and market position.
And the new focus on speed is also one of the trends discussed in a white paper recently published by IBM.
The research found that “the components that differentiate organizations most are those capable of creating an agile and flexible infrastructure, one designed to manage data efficiently and move it through the analytics process quickly.”
Four different types of companies were identified based on their analytics capabilities, ranging from front runners through to spectators.
Front runners represent the top 10% of respondents and are defined as data-driven organizations that use analytics to drive business processes within most business functions.
The speed with which they implement analytics offers a notable business value, with 60% reporting a significant impact on revenues and 53% stating that it gives them a significant competitive advantage.
Ultimately, analytics provide the fuel for an organisation to make better decisions faster.
When it comes to big data, the winners are those that are able to manage the data deluge and turn it into value-generating insights ahead of the competition.
Setting the right foundations
To be in a position where analytics are fast enough to be a competitive advantage, businesses need to have solid foundations in place.
This requires the ability to acquire and integrate data quickly, which then creates flexibility and agility in how data is used.
Front runners have three capabilities that most differentiate their ability to source and ingest data quickly.
- Blend traditional data infrastructure components with newer big data components.
- Use real-time data processing and analysis to act in the moment.
- Implement information governance to accelerate trust, integration and standardisation within their data environment.
Front runners are five times more likely than the ‘pack’ to use real-time analytical processing capabilities (55% vs. 11%) and three times more likely to have an integrated data warehouse (92% vs. 36%).
It’s common for businesses to cite a lack of digital skills as one of the key challenges they face as they seek to become a more digitally focused organisation.
In Econsultancy’s Skills of the Modern Marketer Report respondents identified web analytics/data (41%) as one of the top three areas that required digital upskilling in the next year, alongside social media (41%) and content marketing (44%).
Which areas of requirement for digital resourcing/upskilling do you anticipate will grow most over the coming year?
The results from the IBM report follow this trend, with respondents struggling with “the ability to understand how to use data and analytics to impact” business performance, business outcomes or competitive advantage.
In fact, 56% of all respondents ranked this inability as their biggest challenge.
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