Making Data Work For You: Think Long Term By Thinking Short Term

Making Data Work

Just when you thought big data couldn’t get any bigger, it keeps growing. Yet whether an organisation is producing Giga or Terabytes, used correctly, your data can unlock higher levels of business success. Organisations everywhere have big data of all shapes and sizes. They recognise the importance, the opportunity, and even the imperative to harness it. It has become clear that big data will outlive those who ignore it.

Organisations that have already tamed big data — the multi-structured mass they stored before they knew its worth — are improving their operational efficiency, growing their revenues, and empowering new business models. A few best practice techniques can help businesses start thinking about how to get value out of their data.

Think Long Term By Thinking Short Term

Everything within the big data space is evolving so fast that it’s impossible to know which tools, platforms, and methodologies will be best this year or next. Staying current with big data technology can seem a full time occupation.

This rapid evolution can work for you. Every year, vendors get better at using big data. Relational and online transactions systems (OLTP) become more efficient and smarter, whether running on-premise or on the cloud. Techniques will develop to ease relations between technologies like Hadoop and data warehouses. Products come to market to meet particular needs ever more exactly – great for those very specialist organisations.

Unlock Understanding By Painting A Picture

Visual analytics, or the process of taking data and turning it into a graphical representation such as a chart, graph or map, can help people instantly see and understand trends. If one variable is changed, the graphic also changes—making it easier for people to interact, explore and explain the story their data is telling them, in real-time.

And thanks to new technologies, real people can do this, without expertise in data science or a PHD in statistics. This works with the way most of our brains work – visuals are more immediately graspable than tables of numbers.

One of the main benefits of taking a visual approach to data is the speed to understanding. A well-chosen and well-crafted visualisation allows you to introduce characters, challenges, and progress – and allows the audience to interact, taking the story down their own path to find new insights and make better decisions.

Encourage The Data Culture

Remain open to the possibilities that new technologies can bring to your existing environment. If you’re relatively early in the development of your data based culture, then any new tools can deliver justifiable ROI and help prime the organisation for further change.

When your team understands the value of their data and unlocks its potential, they’ll be taking advantage of the big data at your doorstep. Start small with a short term project and a sample set of data to demonstrate the value. Once the business is enthused with the power of big data at its fingertips, it will soon be ready for the next steps to supercharge better business decision making.

Starting off with smaller, short term projects and exploring the solutions out there will soon unleash the data rockstars within your business. They are the key to a viral movement and laying the foundation to long term data-driven business success.

Bob Middleton_headshot

Bob Middleton is a Product Marketing Manager at Tableau Software.