Big opportunities, big challenges

Big data: changing the way businesses compete and operate

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Big data poses both opportunities and challenges for businesses.

To extract value from big data, it must be processed and analyzed in a timely manner, and the results need to be available in a way that can effect positive change or influence business decisions. The effectiveness also relies on an organization having the right combination of people, process and technology.

Analytics helps to optimize key processes, functions and roles. It enables organizations to meet stakeholder reporting demands, manage massive data volumes, create market advantages, manage risk, improve controls and, ultimately, enhance organizational performance by turning information into intelligence.

EY chart – Analytics value chain

Analytics creates a catalyst for innovation and change — and by challenging the status quo, it can help to create new possibilities for the business and its customers. Sophisticated techniques can allow companies to discover root causes, analyze microsegments of their markets, transform processes and make accurate predictions about future events or customers’ propensity to buy, churn or engage.

It is no longer enough for companies to simply understand current process or operations with a view on improving what already exists, when there is now the capacity to question if a process is relevant to the business, or whether there is a new way of solving a particular issue. The key driver for innovation within organizations is to constantly challenge existing practices rather than consistently accept the same.

Most organizations have complex and fragmented architecture landscapes that make the cohesive collation and dissemination of data difficult.

New analytic solutions are playing an important role in enabling an effective Intelligent Enterprise (IE). An IE helps to create a single view across your organization by utilizing a combination of standard reporting and data visualization:

  • Data from multiple source systems is cleansed, normalized and collated
  • External feeds can be gathered from the latest research, best practice guidelines, benchmarks and other online repositories
  • Use of enhanced visualization techniques, benchmarking indexes and dashboards can inform management and consumers via smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.

Data-driven decisions can reduce inefficiency between the business, legal and IT, optimize existing information assets and address disconnects between different functions of an organization. However, it is worth noting that the best data and the most advanced analytical tools and techniques mean nothing if they are not being leveraged by people who are asking the right questions.

Big data, emerging storage technology platforms and the latest analytical algorithms are enablers to business success — not a guarantee of it.