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By Sharala Axryd, and Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, The Center of Applied Data Science
“90% of today’s data was created in the last two years” - an often used quote in the Big Data world! So how much have you invested or evolved data and analytics talents lately?
The advancement of technology has contributed to the enormous data being available in our daily lives. Consumers are volunteering a plethora of data, right from their basic personal information to their sleeping habits and location. At the same time, organisations are experiencing the pressures of operating in this data intensive era – data that could be used to give consumers an increased accessibility to products and services.
For organisations looking to transform themselves, it is vital to understand the current information usage and rationalise reporting. Data savvy organisations are filtering and processing all the available data through analytics. These insights help them improve customer experience and innovate the current product range.
With many trying to jump on the big data bandwagon, organisations can pretend that this is a fad. Alternatively, they could adapt the new way of working and evolve to being data driven.
The latter would mean a root and branch review of how information is consumed across the board. This exercise shouldn’t take more than a month and as a rule of thumb, strategic reporting shouldn’t be more than five reports. Also, consider other methods of displaying data, there are plenty off-the-shelf plug and play products out there.
Malaysia is at the cusp of embracing the data-driven business transformation and the model of public private partnerships offers an interesting solution to this. Aimed at boosting big data analytics adoption by businesses, initiatives such as ADAX look at developing an analytics maturity model to assess an organisations’ data driven readiness. This maturity model is focused on improving the consumer experience and takes into account several factors such as organisational culture, people and technical capabilities. The initiative will eventually see infrastructures such as big data lab, training centres and other facilities being built. The end goal would be to ease organisations to adopt big data analytics into their businesses.
Cultural change will probably be the biggest challenge. Analytics shouldn’t be only accessible to the few and neither should it be only for large business initiatives. It is important to integrate analytics into the daily business cadence. Start from the applying analytics to basic reports (scenario building) moving to more complex propensity models. You know you’ve matured when analytics contributes to the overall business planning and strategic development process.
When it comes to analytics, people break away from the traditional data scientists plotting world domination in the corner of the office to a team of people with a broad range of skills that move to the tempo of business strategy and operations. Successful analytics teams are business objective aligned and are a mix of capabilities and skills. These teams are typically consisting of four characteristic; the data junkie, the story teller, the data scientist and the commercial minded.
Lastly, do not ignore data governance. Organisations that haven’t grasped the importance of understanding data lineage often get caught in discussions relating to “which data is right” as opposed to what is the best use of our data. Appoint a data steward that maintains data integrity, validity and quality including ownership of the end-to-end data process.