Monday, May 6, 2013

Six Big Trends for Digital Analytics in 2013

We’ve all heard the both the hype and truth of Big Data and Digital Analytics. With so much information available to companies regarding their customers, it’s considered a catastrophe for companies not to be on-board the data bandwagon.  The concepts of Big Data and Digital Analytics, along with the numerous applications, are infiltrating throughout multiple industries and have made significant influences in business strategy.

While it’s true that the future of business belongs to those individuals embracing the big data concept, it’s even more advantageous to understand how 2013 will be shaped by new trends in analytics. Here are six trends in Digital Analytics and how they’ll shape the way business are run.

1.       Rise in Data Applications
The demand for easily accessible/user-friendly data applications has risen due to the influx of customer data and the need for non-IT professionals to utilize data analytics and consumer insights in their business decisions.  

This new group of applications, from well-known competitors like Hadoop and MapReduce, to emerging players like Qlikview and Kognitio, will be expanding big data insights across numerous industries. This will drive a huge competitive advantage enabling businesses to clearly see new opportunities for engaging with their consumers.

2.       Growth in Mobile

According to a recent Business Insider article, by the end of 2013, there will be roughly 1.4 billion smartphones in use around the world and mobile devices will overtake personal computers as the most widely-used web access tools.

So what does this mean for the world of data analytics? It means better access to customer information and thus quicker/more efficient business decisions. With the ability for CEOs, Project Managers, or any individual for that matter, to access customer information no matter their location, equates to boundless opportunities. Mobile technology affects every individual whether they’re the CEO of the company utilizing the analytics or the customer providing the information.

3.       Locality of Analytics
Location-based data is providing enormous possibilities for companies seeking new ways to engage their customers. Having the ability to not only understand their customer’s buying behavior, but also realize where they’re at during any given time, provides the opportunity to create “hyper-local” offers. (per Wikipedia: HyperLocal content refers to content intended primarily for consumptions by residents of that area)

Outside the common direct marketing users, location-based data is helping many different industries excel in their line of work. With so many individuals utilizing location-based features on sites like Facebook, Google, Yelp, and Twitter, there is now useful data outlining customer preferences that companies can take advantage of in their marketing schemes. There’s also the increasing usage of local data-based searches on search engines like Google and Bing, which provide customer insights on buying behavior.

4.       Data Governance and Best Practices

With so much consumer information being available 24/7 to hundreds of different companies, the issue of data security has become a popular topic of conversation. The concept of Data Governance refers to the overall management of data being exploited by a company. This particular data management includes issues in data accessibility, data integrity and data security by those applying analytics.

Data is becoming increasingly valuable for competitive industries and so is the practice of guarding customer information. If a company wants to gain the competitive edge while also maintaining its integrity and reputation, it’s an enterprise-wide duty to create best practices to protect different types of data such as financial information, trade secrets, and even patient health information. An effective best practice plan will generate an increase in data quality and thus create new business while also maintaining existing customer bases

5.       The Socialization of Data

Social Media is becoming a universal movement across various platforms. With such a prevalence of users across sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, there is an exuberant amount of opportunity for companies to engage with their customers, while also gathering valuable insights on their buying behavior, personal preferences and product opinions.

Obtaining these valuable consumer insights is the ability to analyze data within social media sites and subsequently transform it into knowledge. One of the issues surrounding social media analytics is understanding what to measure. Often users that are seeking social media data, have the goal of identifying upcoming trends. The secret however to gaining this much sought-after status is to know what you’re looking for, but also using technology that will provide valuable insights that may not have been sought after. These applications will therefore gain popularity as companies understand the importance of social media-derived data.

6.       Evolution of Business Intelligence

The concept of Business Intelligence is absolutely vital for all companies across various industries. Obtaining customer data is only the first step in the right direction. Having the ability to understand and visualize significant business metrics via a dashboard and thus generating strategy is the key behind business intelligence.

So where is Business Intelligence headed?  There are three important directions that Business Intelligence is headed. The first is Unstructured Data, which is data outside a database and that can be easily accessible by anyone within an organization. The benefit unstructured data holds on business intelligence is the opportunity for individuals across various departments to understand their company’s data analytics and thus make efficient business decisions.

The second route Business Intelligence is going down is the idea of Cloud-Based BI. Despite the fact that many companies would want to purchase BI systems, they’re often expensive to install and can require continuous maintenance. Building a BI system as a Saas (Software as a Service) creates the opportunity for more individuals to access key analytics while also allowing for easy BI software updates.

The third route in which Business Intelligence will venture is Mobile BI Applications. As noted above, mobile usage has dramatically increased and will soon takeover PCs as the main web access tools. Therefore having the capability to access business intelligence anytime, anywhere, and on any device, creates massive opportunities for business large and small.

Resources Used

-Adler, Steven. Six Steps to Data Governance Success. May 31, 2007. CIO.

-Badlani, Amman. Driving Consumer Insights with Mobile Analytics. April 19, 2013. Search Engine Watch.

-Brandon, Amanda. Four Trends in Business Analytics and Data Analytics. September 8, 2010. Spotfire.

-Howson, Cindi. 7 Top Business Intelligence Trends for 2013. January 25, 2013. Information Week.

-Jordano, Lou. Future Uses for Data Analysis and Location-Based Data. October 16, 2012. Spotfire.

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