How to Face Complex Data For Your Business With Confidence


“Big data” has become such a powerful trend among businesses with many companies planning to invest in data initiatives in the near term. Not too long ago, only big corporations had the means to work with powerful data science platforms. In the past two years, however, the availability of self-service and cloud-based business intelligence (BI) tools has made it possible for startups and SMEs to make better data-driven decisions that can enhance operations, improve sales and accelerate growth. Here's how to face complex data for your business with confidence:

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Data is becoming bigger and more complex, however, and businesses need to develop strategies for keeping up. With the increasing size and complexity of data, it gets harder to maintain visibility and insights needed for effective BI.

Even the buzz term “big data” is no longer as applicable as is once was, given the increasing complexities of the raw materials. The more accurate term now is “complex data,” since BI specialists are now working with growing data sets, information sources and relationships. However, you need the tools and know-how in order to better harness the power of complex data.

When leveraged correctly, this data can be used to refine your business decision-making skills. Here’s how to get started.

1. Keep it Simple

With larger data sets, increasingly diverse sources and greater data volumes, you can extract stronger insights for making sound business decisions with reduced lag times. The challenge is to profile and integrate disparate data with the right IT resources.

Remember that the key to making complex data useful is to establish an approach that simplifies the work. In the past, effective BI initiatives required input from data scientists who analyzed complex data and prepared visual reports that could be understood by everyone. Not only is it time-consuming, but this also requires extensive training in data analysis and management applications.

Modern BI solutions aim to simplify all of this through various means, thus enabling SMEs to streamline and automate essential processes from compilation to reporting. Look for solutions that simplify complex data analytics.

Whatever platform you choose, you want to be able to use office-grade desktop computers instead of expensive servers and workstations. 

The key benefit of simplicity is agility. Since you will no longer need to spend weeks or even months in data preparation, programming and other work, you can simply act on the decision-points on an operational basis.

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2. Keep Costs Down

Enterprise BI was once prohibitively expensive, as it required dedicated hardware and software that significantly increased the cost of deployment – not to mention the maintenance and consultancy costs that businesses needed to pay data science professionals. Today, you can significantly reduce costs through self-service analytics.

Self-service BI platforms today offer scalable solutions that can fit the needs of businesses regardless of size and industry. As a business, you should take advantage of this by looking for providers that offer flexible volume-based or process-based pricing.

Aside from eliminating the need to acquire expensive hardware, self-service BI tools also remove the need for data experts and consultants, which can save you even more money in the long run. This is perfect not only for startups and SMEs with limited budgets, but also enterprises with wider and more complex needs.

Cloud-based BI tools are increasingly becoming popular, especially among businesses that do not want to invest on their own infrastructure. Some examples include IBM’s Watson Analytics and Microsoft’s PowerBI, both of which can be offered as standalone software-as-a-service solutions or as part of these providers’ respective cloud-driven enterprise suites.

Self-service BI’s scalability is further enhanced by the availability of free data sources such as content on government websites as well as social media platforms. In fact, insights from social media can be goldmines for businesses seeking to tap into targeted niche audiences and build out optimized products.

Self-service BI platforms will usually let you integrate social media as an external data source.

Other ways to save time and data costs include using sources such as Google Analytics, Google AdWords and custom SQL servers.

3. Make Sure It’s Accessible

BI is now more accessible than ever. Your BI solution should seamlessly interface with other platforms like finance, CRM or ERP applications for more effective use of data.

Apart from being accessible, complex data should also be actionable. With simplified integrations, you can ensure total visibility over your data and your business as a whole.

Whether you are an established business with terabytes of data to process or a startup/SME that simply needs to make better data-driven decisions, data science effectiveness is a challenge.

To make sure you’re on the right path towards useful insights with minimal lag times, make sure to simplify your BI initiatives, use a cost-effective solution, and maximise the accessibility of your insights across all departments.

Recommended reading: Using New Technology to Grow Your Business

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