Anyone buying a laptop twenty years ago could count on 40GB of storage – a huge amount at that time. Now, even a simple smartphone has 64 GB, and the more expensive 512. That might sound exaggerated, but it isn’t. After all, we create huge amounts of data together. According to research agencyStatista, 2010 was good for 2 zetabyte and in 2020 we were already at 149 zetabyte, where one zetabyte equals 1021 bytes.
Everything is data. And when we look at growth, we’re only at the start. Now that more and more businesses are going ‘smart’, the data explosion will only get bigger. Think about self-driving cars, IoT sensors in production environments or the marketing data retailers collect about their customers. And then there’s edge computing, 5G networks, AI and machine learning, virtual reality (AR/VR) and blockchain. All these developments pose challenges when it comes to data management. Collecting and storing data isn’t very complicated, but analysing and extracting information from it is more challenging. But it is possible.
A survey carried out last year by American data specialist Splunk showed that a lot of companies think they’re unable to handle the fast growth of data. This, despite the growing knowledge about its use, as well as an increase in the technical tools for analysing and processing it. The major challenges that organisations identify are the enormous increase in data, the integration of data from different sources and the introduction of new technology to analyse data. At the same time, the survey showed that most organisations are fully aware that data delivers added value when it comes to success, innovation and improving cybersecurity.
How to extract value from data?
The good news is that there is indeed a wide range of tools and methodologies to extract value from data. The process starts with determining the value of the data from the perspective of the business. Not every piece of information has the same significance or is equally useful. When it is clear which data is important for the business, the next step is choosing for a reporting tool or – for larger organisations or companies with a lot of data – a data warehouse. Data integration is needed at this point; since this can be laborious, it is increasingly being automised with the help of specialised software. To take an example, this is what injection moulding company DPI did when they wanted to integrate different sources into a data warehouse.
The next step is to report and visualise. Here, you see the rapid rise of dashboarding, with more and more companies looking for real-time or near-real-time reporting with a strong emphasis on visualisation. This helps stakeholders in every part of the organisation to quickly gain insight into the processes that are important for them. A strategy focused on data analysis, data reporting and data visualisation is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it’s a ‘must have’. Every organisation will have to get to grips with data management if it wants to be ‘future proof’. Companies that don’t are likely to be overtaken by the competition. That’s why this is the time to really track your data.
Data management involves different areas of expertise: databases, business intelligence, analytics, marketing intelligence and data governance. Visser & Van Baars provides ITstaff en consultants in each of these areas. Want to know more? Please contact us.