In the IT world and modern business, the proverb declaring that all roads lead to Rome could be easily changed to “All roads lead to data”. In this increasingly complex and connected world, it is the ability of companies to efficiently collect, arrange, and analyse data that separates winners from those that lag behind.
Last year’s report by Capgemini, titled Big & Fast Data: The Rise of Insight-Driven Business, examined data-driven business in detail. The company conducted interviews with over a thousand CEOs and decision-makers from around the globe. As many as 65% of them admitted that, due to their insufficient work with data, they may become uncompetitive in the future. Over half (52%) believed that their IT environment, limited in its development capability, was to blame.
At every step, the aforementioned digital transformation affects everything – business models, decisions, employees, processes and more. But its blood is data. Without high quality data and information, a company faces difficulties trying to orient itself in the right direction. Companies, small and large and everything in between, want to be as adaptable as possible and offer their customers the best (the most convincing) products and services. However, how can they achieve this if they do not know precisely what their customers need, what the market can handle, or what the circumstance of tomorrow will be? Most companies therefore focus on only a few key technologies to satisfy their customers’ needs, building suitable competencies around these technologies.
“Today, customers are mostly interested in how they can gain a refined insight into data as quickly as possible and, at the same time, optimize costs. Numerous companies want to know if and how they can use Hadoop as a platform for managing data using analytical approaches, and they often entertain the idea of expending (or even replacing) traditional storage environments. At the same time, they want to utilize this environment for conducting analytical procedures on storage without additional recruitment or internal education by IT experts for open-code technologies. On the other side we find organizations that seem to be acting in response to media pressure (if nothing else), which are beginning to examine their data in an advanced, analytical manner, hoping to create added value to take them to the next step. The General Data Protection Regulation enters into force in the upcoming year, representing a significantly stricter regulation on data storage and processing, and imposing additional obligations on companies and organizations, which they will solve with advanced technology,” said Dr Aleksander Pivk, head of advanced analytical practices (and data management) for the Adriatic region at SAS.
Omniscience originates in data and analytics
The aforementioned study by Capgemini found that over one-third of companies understood the strategic importance of gathering and processing mass data. Quite a few of them undertook data analysis without the help of an IT department, that is, each department for its own segment, using its favoured tools. Of course, shadow IT and a silo mentality have a whole group of obvious disadvantages, with especially interesting meetings of decision-makers, where heads of various departments sitting at the same table, waving their own findings based on different data foundations.
To avoid such situations (and their consequences), SAS recommends a unified analytical platform. Platform Viya by SAS, for example, offers companies a variety of tools for different business users and positions, and can be utilized by marketing, sales, HR, procurement, as well as development. It is an open analytical platform, also utilizing the advantages of a computer cloud – it is elastic, durable, and always available. In addition to supporting practically all the existing sources of structured and unstructured data (including those from the social network), its significant advantage is that it supports numerous popular programming languages (Python, Lua, Java), which further increase the usefulness of the tools included in the platform, such as SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Visual Statistics, SAS Visual Investigator, SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning. With this platform, a company can simply implement the most advanced environment for data processing and analysis, which consequently upgrades the solutions for business decision-making.
"SAS Viya is an open analytical platform, also utilizing the advantages of a computer cloud – it is elastic, durable, and always available. In addition to supporting practically all the existing sources of structured and unstructured data" Aleksander Pivk CEA Analytics Practice Lead SAS Institute
Don’t let mass data become a headache
Companies that wish to become omniscient with the processing of all possible data are already becoming familiar with the challenges related to mass and fast data. Most have learned that, in the next couple of years, investments into data storage and processing solutions will most likely exceed investments into other IT solutions. Capgemini’s study found that 61% of CEOs were convinced that appropriately processed mass data, transformed into attractive products and services, will be the main factor in generating new revenue streams and expanding existing ones. All the others are likely to have to endure headaches, trying to follow ever faster winners. In this time, when digital transformation is upending the business world, it is worth making the right moves – no one is safe from “disruptors”.
About the Author(s)
Miran Varga is one of the most recognized IT journalist in Slovenia and writes articles for the largest Slovenian daily newspaper Delo but as a freelancer he is also working for business daily Finance and IT magazines Monitor/Monitor PRO and IRT 3000. In addition, he manages a blog tehnokrat.si. He has a strong history of publishing news related to IT and tech topics, resulting from attending various events and daily following developments in IT field. Additionally, he established good cooperation with SAS, in 2016 and he already produced more than 10 SAS articles from AX2017 and SAS Forum Milan, as well as some high quality interviews with Tamara Dull, Wayne Thompson, Brad Hathaway, etc