For quite a few years now Data is a new business mantra. Data is strategic asset, data is a key to unlock real business potential. Everything seems to dance around the data fire. So why would there be any need for more data, more data analytics, more tools?
Obviously the challenging part is turning the data into information and turning the information into valuable insights. I personally went through many iterations of this value chain. I was on the vendor side providing data warehouse technology and business intelligence tools as well as being on the customer side, trying to find the right tools, getting the IT environment together with the business one, fighting for the data to give answers. It is not easy! Especially when you have a very precise idea what you want and what the outcome should look like. All that leads to some frustration and complexity issues.
However, the world of technology changes fast and a lot of frustrating tasks from the past are nowadays so easy to resolve. Why is that?
I am observing a few key trends and elements for this development. First and foremost, it is cloud computing adoption, secondly, it is machine learning and artificial intelligence principles and thirdly it is new large data sources that bring the “material” that can be and should be analyzed.
Cloud computing is the biggest democratization principle found in last decades. Cloud computing scaled down and brought up super advanced analytics to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Just a few years back only the biggest and wealthiest companies could afford to run large data centers with huge racks and server farms running all that expensive software tools from prime vendors. Today you can rent that technology for just a few moments to run your job at a fraction of a price and with the possibility to pay with your credit card. Not only can you rent infrastructure you can also rent software and you can choose from tens and hundreds of tools. When you don’t like the tool, you just stop the subscription and move to some more convenient tool. This is a true revolution. You own all the possibilities of this modern world with a single credit card in your pocket! What a massive impact this has. For example, any company in the world can decide NOT to have any IT! I mean servers, hardware, IT people… You can just run on cloud services. Without any back-office and in fact, you do not even need a physical office or company cars!
Machine learning is closely connected with cloud computing. Without cloud there would not be machine learning in the form we know it today. Machine learning works only when you have enough data for the machine to feed. And that exactly is the role of cloud. That applies also to ML software capabilities. Few years ago there was just nothing except for some super expensive and proprietary tools. Nowadays you do a few clicks on AWS (amazon web services) and you run your first ML query! Needless to say what amazing possibilities this brings to data turning into information.
For our own technology (location intelligence platform) this meant an interesting breakthrough. All of a sudden we could provide our normal users with a simple analysis after initial data load that showed basic behavioral patterns. Just on one click. Amazing! Using computing power and know how of people that we would not be able to buy in a lifetime…
But machine learning brings more. It learns every minute, every day some more, it learns more with more data. Thanks to this we all got used to using Siri on our phones or Alexa in our “smart” homes. All that being more capable every day due to machine learning. What a life changing technology!
My third topic was new large data sets as a raw material to be analyzed. And there are so many! We have a rising star – internet of things (IoT) together with Blockchain, internet browsers related data, smartphones generated data, etc.. And sometimes you do not even need a new source of data. Sometimes you just find a new use for the data already existing. Such as for us utilizing the location based data. There is a location element in more than 80% of all business related data today. Almost everything can be localized. Your phone calls, your card payments, your car parking, your web browsing… All this represents large data sets that wait for exploring. The fun part is that this is only a start of a new trend. There will simply be more and more data – i.e. more possibilities for turning them into a valuable insights. Yet only 0,5% of all data is now being analyzed. 95,5% of all data are not being touched! It is like our knowledge of oceans. Yes, we know a lot and we are learning fast, yet we only know so little 🙂
So, exciting times are ahead thanks to all this amazing technology. And where politicians fail in their attempts to pursue democracy, it is technology that brings democracy into our lives as the most natural thing.
About the Author
Ondrej Tomas is the CEO of CleverAnalytics.com
CleverAnalytics is Location Intelligence and Analysis platform driven by the business cases of CEOs, COOs, Network, Sales and Marketing executives. It excels in processing really large data sets and combining internal and external data into one data model.