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Why big data should be at the core of decision making in business.

By: Damian Hamer, Technology Sales

‘Digital transformation,’ ‘innovation,’ ‘disruptive technology,’ and ‘digitization’ are some of the hottest buzzwords in businesses across all industries today. As competition intensifies and consumers become more demanding, companies face the challenge of improving their digital competence, and one of the most crucial things to develop any firm’s digital capabilities is how to value, manage, interpret, and monetize data.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts that by 2025, there will be 79.4 zettabytes (ZB) of data generated from 41.6 billion connected IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Carrie MacGillivray, Group Vice President, IoT, 5G and Mobility at IDC, says data creates value for all stakeholders, including industries, governments, and individuals. "Understanding the amount of data created from the myriad of connected devices allows organizations and vendors to build solutions that can scale in this accelerating data-driven IoT market," She adds.

Technology has allowed data to be collected round-the-clock across the world at a rapid pace and in massive magnitudes. According to cloud software firm DOMO, data bytes in 2020 will be 40x more than the stars in the observable universe. These data bytes are created, collected, and exchanged in every email, tweet, social media post, hashtag, web search, online food order, and so on. To put things into perspective, DOMO revealed some astonishing data: for each minute of 2019, Netflix users streamed 694,444 hours of video, Google conducted nearly 4.5 million searches, Skype users made 231,840 calls, 188 million emails and 18.1 million texts were sent, and 390,030 apps were downloaded. This tremendous amount of data, if managed and processed properly, provides invaluable insights that could translate to more efficient operations or better marketing or healthier bottom lines. But how can companies do that?

Clearly, big data is a valuable asset to any company but it is of little to no use if not interpreted to aid every decision-making process. According to EY, big data eliminates the tendency for executives to rely on their ‘gut feel’ when making important decisions as it provides a wealth of information on market conditions, customer preferences, and potential risks. In a research conducted in 2015, EY surveyed senior executives and found that eight in 10 agree that data should be at the heart of all decision-making but only 31% of companies have significantly restructured their operations to help do this.

“Lack of strong leadership and limited investment are hindering companies at every stage of the big data journey, from building a credible business case to ROI modeling, capability development, project planning and project delivery. This, in turn, is undermining the potential for measuring existing value, creating additional value and protecting value that already exists in an organization,” says Chris Mazzei, Global Chief Analytics Officer, EY. 

Achieving a data driven culture takes time and requires leadership at every level. According to Byron Rudenno, Executive General Manager and Head of Sales at global IT services and consulting firm Modis, a flourishing data culture provides a platform to place data in the hands of employees real-time, mitigating the risk of poor decision making and in turn allowing organizations to better their customer experience, thus gaining clear competitive advantage.

“Those organizations who aren’t capitalizing on their data assets today will be left behind as their competitors leverage advances in predictive analytics to innovate and differentiate in the market. Predictive (or Advanced) Analytics when utilized correctly has multiple organizational benefits, including incredible cost saving opportunities, which in today’s unprecedented times, is one reason to double down and invest in Predictive Analytics programs,” adds Rudenno.

There will never be a shortage of data for any organization. The question is, how do companies interpret the data to inform decisions and gain competitive advantage? How can data be processed in order for it to generate predictive insights? What role will data analytics play in an organization’s big data journey?

“Analytics is changing how organizations make decisions and take actions. Data by itself has limited value but when managed as a strategic asset, data can change how organizations compete and win,” notes Mazzei. 


Damian Hamer has a strong understanding of niche skills required across the UC, collaboration, datacentre virtualization and cloud computing space. He specialises in executive search at leadership level, particularly in the recruitment of CEO / MDs, COOs, sales directors, services directors, and senior commercial roles. Connect with Damian.