5 billion mobile phone users are generating zetabytes (1 billion terabytes) of digital exhaust each year. As all of this data is generated, there is a parallel increase in the power of tools to capture and analyze it. Leveraging and understanding this extraordinary avalanche of data is a requirement for today’s leading companies to remain competitive. Companies can respond by establishing enterprise-wide initiatives to ensure that the organization maintains a “data-driven” focus. Here are five of the most critical innovations to implement that will capitalize on the latest data trends.
1) Open Data for Business Intelligence
The exponential growth of publicly available data from social media, markets, wikis and more allows — and soon will require — modern enterprises to add global and local context to executive and management level decision making. Beyond the bosses, open data can help employees at all levels respond in real time to a fluctuating market. Data from companies with open APIs like Crunchbase, Twitter, Yelp, Flickr and Kayak will be at the fingertips of the API-savvy data-driven leaders. B2B startups that integrate this data like Trustev and Brandwatch provide massive value to the enterprise, and their valuation shows that Wall Street has noticed.
2) Passive Data Collection
Employees spend 95% of their day in front of a computer generating data collected by the five to ten applications used on a daily basis. Each application, from calendars to spreadsheets to databases to document production, can capably record data to provide additional context to feed into enterprise reporting outputs. Modern enterprise architecture can be easily structured to collect these details passively to provide powerful performance and productivity insights that are otherwise invisible and lost.
3) Machine Learning Integrated Into Business Processes
Advanced predictive analytics and modeling – from clustering to recommendation engines to Bayesian inference and more – should be central to every major business decision as well as each major customer interaction. The models and tools that allow computers to creatively learn from data are increasingly ubiquitous, free, and relatively easy to implement and use. Investing now in the data science to develop and manage machine learning algorithms will pay dividends by creating the responsive company of tomorrow. 75% of what Netflix viewers watch are recommendations from artificial intelligence — this same technology will dramatically improve and influence business decisions in the next few years.
4) New Collaborations and Innovations For Benchmarking
Millions of the best consumer applications in use today feature an innocuous checkbox: “Share your anonymous data with us to help improve the product?” For the enterprise, the benefits of industry-wide benchmarking and increased trust in data anonymity means that wise executives are able to leverage the same processes that they use to learn about themselves to learn about their competition. Each industry, from retail to banking to r&d, has its consortiums and trade groups working to gather data through surveys. The data-savvy corporation needs to proactively work with those groups, while at the same time developing, or purchasing, web scraping or other technologies that can allow real-time benchmarking against peers.
5) Incorporation of the Physical Data
The “Internet of Things” (IOT) has matured, and physical data generated from mobile computers and employee, consumer and manufacturing is nearly cost-free and ubiquitous. IOT integration will be a hallmark of the modern software leader. Rapidly expanding firms like InvenSense have integrated the algorithms and processors needed to generate inexpensive “always on” insights from motion, gps, and other physical traits. Modern enterprise enterprises need to anticipate and roll these streams into their IT architecture for immediate ROI in supply chains, market intelligence, cost exposures and more.
Turning Data into Innovation
The competitive enterprise will take advantage of the growing trove of data by increasing investment in the human capital and corporate culture that can turn data into innovation. Social data, data from objects, data from peers and the everyday use of artificial intelligence will all be integral elements for industry leaders. Invest in data — billions of terabytes can’t be wrong.
About the Author:
Dave Goodsmith is the founder of Scale Analytics and a data science consultant. His experience includes leading the DataCorps at DataKind and working as a neuroeconomist at Columbia University.