Many people are pricking up their ears and starting to take an interest in the various benefits of big data analytics, as it becomes increasingly clear that businesses simply can’t do without this in-depth information.
One area in which big data is assuming a major role is in management. Why? Because this type of technology makes it possible for businesses to analyse the numbers and work out how they can continue to grow and prosper – even if they have limited budgets.
ComputerWorld has pointed out that this type of managerial approach is, in part, being adopted thanks to the real-life story of a US baseball team whose manager was able to turn around its fortunes, despite its lack of money. They were able to analyse statistics and then come up with the most cost-effective player roster in the league.
This story was actually turned into a Hollywood movie called Moneyball last year, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. The ethos that it displays is also one that applies to big data analytics, since it shows how working through large amounts of data can actually allow you to see the bigger picture and lower costs – without having to make sacrifices in terms of the quality of the team or other assets.
Figures suggest that the message of lower costs and improved managerial insights that are provided by big data analytics is becoming better understood by businesses, with more and more firms adopting this type of technology to help them survive and grow.
The Economist Intelligence Unit published a report, on behalf of Capgemini, in which 43 per cent of the more than 600 executives who were surveyed said that their companies were harnessing big data to collect and analyse large amounts of information every day. The results of the analysis were being used by these adopters to form strategies and mould the ways in which decisions are made, which shows just how influential big data has become in certain companies.
Respondents were also asked about how they feel when confronted with managers who choose to make decisions based on personal instincts or past experience. More than 50 per cent said that such an approach was now regarded as undesirable, since it is seen as safer to use the benefits of quantifiable data, rather than the hunch of an individual, to help steer a firm in the right direction when it comes to managerial decisions.
A similar report from the consultants at Avanade found that 73 per cent of companies, taken from a global pool across a variety of industries, have been able to generate additional revenue as a result of turning to data analytics.
43 per cent of those companies that have seen revenue boosts thanks to this technology have done so as a result of tapping into previously unexploited areas, while a slim majority have seen their existing revenue streams become more profitable thanks to this approach.
Many industry observers are stating that there is an ongoing sea change in the culture of the commercial world, which is being directly influenced by an increased reliance on data analytics in the sphere of management.
95 per cent of the businesses questioned by Avande said that the people they employ to analyse data do not fall under the remit of the IT department, but are instead distinct because of their ever-increasing role in decision making at an executive level.
Interestingly, there also seems to be something of a democratisation of the decision making process, thanks to widespread data analysis. Almost two thirds of respondents said that more employees are able to get involved with formulating strategies, because they have better access to business-critical information that can keep them informed about the big issues.
Research suggests that businesses that actually choose to employ dedicated data analysts will be putting themselves in a better position to translate the exponential increase in information which they are accruing into tangible sources of revenue.
This is one of the reasons that observers have been citing big data analytics as being competitively advantageous in many areas. It gives companies that might otherwise struggle to compete with larger rivals the ability to level the playing field and make the most cost-effective decisions. It can help them work with limited funds, while still having the potential to grow.
75 per cent of companies questioned by Avande said that they are going to be increasing the amount of money that they invest in data over the coming year, which indicates that there is a real sense amongst executives and non-technical decision makers that this approach has long-term benefits.
Avande spokesperson Steve Palmer said that data analytics was becoming a mainstream tool, and not just something that is only discussed and understood by those in the IT department. With more and more managers becoming aware of its capabilities, increased adoption rates are sure to follow.