The Importance of Data
If you run a business, you know data is king. But making sense of the mountains of data available to you can be a challenge. In this short blog series, we’re going to take a look at the challenges that today’s analytics landscape presents to business, and discuss what to look for in a modern analytics platform.
Your business needs data that is accurate, timely, relevant, and reliable—and delivered in real time. Without it, it’s hard to make the kinds of business decisions that help you differentiate yourself from your competitors. But achieving that isn’t so simple. The digital era has given us both a challenge and an opportunity in the sheer volume and types of data available to us. In fact, the only thing that’s growing faster than the volume of data at our disposal is our appetite for it.
In the 2017 whitepaper “Data 2025,” the IDC forecast that by 2025, the “global datasphere” will grow to 1 trillion gigabytes—ten times the data that was generated worldwide in 2016. “All this data will unlock unique user experiences and a new world of business opportunities,” write’s whitepaper authors David Reinsel, John Gantz and John Rydning. But to take advantage of it, we must be able to consume, rationalize and express that data so that we can make strategic business decisions.
Why the Data Warehouse?
Unfortunately, traditional data warehouses can’t handle the unprecedented volume and variety of data types. They can’t easily combine diverse types of data, don’t support reporting across all data assets in real time, and can’t help you with pre-empting business insights. They’re too rigid and inflexible to keep pace.
And too often, we hear about businesses that are working with legacy applications and a data warehouse that’s no longer in their prime. If you’re in that situation, you’ve probably developed workarounds to address the issues, but the fact is that you’re propping up a failing system. If you’re not modernizing your analytics platform, you’re missing out on the opportunities that data offers. You risk losing customers, opportunities and therefore losing revenue. You risk:
- Missing out on business insights. What you don’t know, your competitors might.
- Making business decisions that are either ineffective or actively harmful to your business.
- Reducing customer satisfaction, which can lead to high support calls and erosion of your brand.
- Not recognizing trends in time to take advantage of them.
- Not being able to identify and target different types of customer—which means your offers may be falling on deaf ears.
- Not realizing supply-chain efficiencies.
- Deploying your resources on strategies to reduce the risks above—without giving them the information that will help them solve the problem.
The Risks of Not Modernizing
The opportunity cost is real. In Forrester Consulting’s 2016 report “The Total Economic Impact of SAP Analytics,” researchers found that companies that modernized their analytics platforms shortened their time to create reports from 15 hours per report to 1 hour. The companies experienced a 97 percent reduction in costs to aggregate data and create reports. On average, safety issues fell by 28 percent, as well, as companies were able to use predictive analytics to identify potential problems before they occurred. In terms of BI, process and task costs fell by 60 percent because businesses were able to use data to improve and standardize their processes.
Data analysis has never been more relevant, more important, or more difficult to do well. In the next posts in this series, we’ll discuss the challenges that the business faces with data, what organizations should look for in a modern analytics platform, and some of the real-world successes we’ve seen. For more in-depth information, download our whitepaper on the Modern Analytics Platform.