Dynamic business data: what does that mean, exactly? Is it big data? Data analytics? Business intelligence?
The answer isn’t just one of these; it’s a combination of all three.
Data and business are inextricably intertwined, and without good information, a business cannot be successful. But having lots of data doesn’t mean that it is actionable information, or even that it’s useful.
Indeed, only by generating information from the data can it be considered useful. And, while all businesses generate and collect data that doesn’t necessarily mean that a business is effectively using the data it collects.
In today’s world, business is all about the data we generate every single day. Organizations that are successful and survive in today’s digital environment have learned how to use the amount of data that is available to them in the marketplace.
How Much Data Do We Generate?
According to a 2018 white paper from Domo, an analytics solution provider, over 2.5 billion Gigabytes of data are generated every single day. That’s over 2.5 Exabytes of data for those who are interested in comparative data sizes and equivalents.
Any activity on the Internet generates data, whether it’s a tweet, a video, email, a Snapchat, a file download, web surfing, a Google query, or any other activity one can do on the Internet. If it’s using internet technology, it generates data. Mobile phone texts, streaming music or videos generates data; smartphones and review posts on a new restaurant - yup, more data.
To further draw attention to just how much data is generated by people every day, the same report predicts that by 2020, 1.7 MB of data will be created every second, for every person on earth (more than 7.5 billion people inhabit the Earth today). That’s a lot of data! And, of course, you know that will only increase over time as more innovative internet applications are created, generating even more data.
How Can an Organization Use Data
There are many kinds of data sets, such as historical data for forecasting purposes, and real-time data for trending analysis. There is industry data, which allows organizations to anticipate what their customers might want in the future. There is an organization’s own data collection activity from social media feeds, customer interactions, and transactional information. Then there is data mining that can connect the dots from many of these sets of data.
And lastly, there is business intelligence analytics for prognostications, such as predicting what customers will do and/or want in the future. This last aspect, as you might imagine, is the holy grail for any business: accurate, repeatable results in predictive aspects of BI are the most sought-after answers in any organization.
If one can combine the disparate sets of data that these areas represent, then one could draw some pretty amazing conclusions from these data. That’s essentially what big data, data analytics, and business intelligence are all about – allowing organizations to combine these sets of data to draw their own conclusions about their customers, their environment, the marketplace, and likely answer many of the questions businesses can ask.
How to Make Data Dance For You
Business intelligence takes the data that has been collected, combined, and analyzed and draws actionable data in succinct visuals for decision-makers. Common examples of this are the dashboards that are prevalent on the desktops and mobile devices of executives and managers in many organizations today.
Business intelligence encompasses not just the development of attractive and appealing graphics to display data. Its core function is to correlate the connections between seemingly unrelated aspects of the data.
In other words, making data dance necessitates people who can think outside the box, smart, creative people who can see possible relationships between what might appear to be sets of unrelated and ambiguous data. And, with their skills using various BI tools and techniques, these ‘masters of the dance’ can draw out actionable information for decision-makers.
If you are an experienced IT person who is interested in making data dance, consider a Master of Information Systems Management (MISM). The University of Arizona Global Campus program includes three specializations, one of which is business intelligence. This specialization has three courses that focus on the three pillars for making data dance: big data, data analytics, and business intelligence. To learn more, contact an advisor today.
Written by Dr. Steph YoungGonzaga, assistant professor in the Forbes School of Business and Technology at Global Campus