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High-performance analytics fuels innovation and inclusive growth

Use big data, hyperconnectivity and speed to intelligence to get true value in the digital economy

By Mikael Hagstrom, SAS

It can be startling to hear how much data has been created and collected in the last few years. For instance, 15 of the top 17 industry sectors in the United States have more data stored per company than the Library of Congress (which has collected 235 terabytes of data). The growth of external, social and unstructured data has been even more rapid. In fact, 90 percent of all the world's data was created in the last two years. All the data is there, and it is useful if we can harness it in the right way to increase our collective knowledge. Big data has become the new paradigm of knowledge assets.

The question is, how can we close the gap between what the data knows and what we know as individuals? Organizations must develop and deploy new technologies that integrate these massive data volumes and provide smarter tools for analysis, visualization and access.

You might ask why the promise of the digital economy is relevant and how all of this big data matters to your organization. Recent economic turmoil in the eurozone provides a compelling backdrop. Thinly stretched organizations there are faced with many socio-economic challenges, including cost-cutting, chronic fiscal and labor imbalances, severe income disparity – seen in rising unemployment, particularly among the young – and a shrinking middle class. These gaps and growing risks raise the threat of civil unrest as governments of once formerly wealthy nations are unable to meet their social and fiscal obligations.

If big data is the new oil, then high-performance analytics is what will energize the new economy

A return to protectionism and frugality will only further undermine a recovery, as proven in the 1930s; it will take innovation to fuel inclusive and sustainable growth. High-performance analytics can provide that innovation by leveraging big data, hyperconnectivity and speed to intelligence.

Overall, the business environment is becoming more global and interconnected. Risks, complexities and challenges are growing while the time to react is shrinking. Another challenge is that data may be collected and stored in silos, so analyzing it can be a challenge. A holistic, integrated approach that mirrors how organizations think, operate and respond is the most appropriate way to tap into big data. How might such an approach look? For starters, it should include three key pillars:

  • Big data – including the volume, variety and velocity of the data assets such as unstructured social media data.
  • Hyperconnectivity – the need of the always-on generation to access disparate data sources anywhere and anytime – and using that collective knowledge.
  • Speed to intelligence – the ability to identify and react intelligently to market-changing information before your competitors makes all the difference. Relevant and timely customer interactions are essential.

On the other hand, for those who don't embrace the opportunity, big data becomes a data deluge that further accelerates IT expenditures and hinders rather than helps. What many have just recently recognized is that the rapid accumulation of massive data volumes – by itself – is a fairly uninteresting proposition. Adding to the data is not so important; it is what you take away from the data that matters.

Regardless of industry, it is clear that the integration of the pillars above can open up a range of powerful possibilities for all organizations. Reflecting on the many examples discussed in this issue of  Intelligence Quarterly , we see that the combination of hyperconnectivity, big data and speed to intelligence benefits businesses and consumers in three key ways:

  • The ability to know. In an increasingly complex environment companies turn to analytics to know more than ever before about market trends, economic factors, competitors, customers and more. Bank of America, for example, now knows how to better manage its lending risk to avoid defaults and difficult situations.
  • The ability to connect in real time. Catalina Marketing makes relevant, real-time offers to customers in check-out lines at thousands of retail stores around the US .
  • The ability to innovate. Companies can apply their newfound knowledge and insights from customer interactions toward faster, more effective action, thus changing their operations and processes and improving their results.

Another banking customer that we have worked with has stated that the benefits of using high-performance analytics to analyze every piece of data for customer intelligence and risk, as opposed to just a sample of that data, has provided a total cost savings reaching to hundreds of millions of British pounds.

As big data continues to grow, it represents a critical source of meaningful information that can augment and complement traditional databases and structured data sources, along with traditional ways of gaining insight. SAS® High-Performance Analytics is the only solution on the market that helps organizations take full advantage of big data, hyperconnectivity and speed to intelligence. Taken separately, each of these pillars could be seen as just another cost, but the convergence of the three is where true value exists.

When we can all draw from that knowledge – citizens, governments and companies alike – the benefits to society are clear. Individually, we are each limited in what we can know, but together big data, hyperconnectivity and speed to intelligence make it possible to find insights that will improve our health, increase the efficient use of public resources, best serve the needs of customers, and help drive the innovation needed to grow our global economies and increase employment by embracing the digital economy. If big data is the new oil, then highperformance analytics is what will energize the new economy.

Bio: As head of an expanding global team of more than 4,000 professionals in over 50 countries, Mikael Hagstrom is passionate about providing a culture where innovation can flourish, resulting in market leadership for the organization and its customers. He leads SAS' Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific regions, which account for 54 percent of SAS' 2011 revenue, or $1.47 billion.

Mikael Hagstrom, Executive Vice President of SAS Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific

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