Data is the new oil

When you think of data as a consumer, you might think this information is mainly your name, phone number and email address. When it’s broken down, you begin to see the real benefits from the perspective of business intelligence. Business intelligence platforms, such as the next-generation data analytics and visualisation platform Qlik Sense, can make light work of millions upon millions of rows of seemingly meaningless data and present it in a way that makes sense (no pun intended).

The fact of the matter is nowadays, pretty much everything we do will generate some sort of data; think of it as your digital footprint. This doesn’t just mean that data about you is recorded every time you purchase something off the web or fill in a form. The mere act of walking down a busy high street today will generate data that can be captured stored, transformed and sold. This could be a high street retailer capturing anonymous data on footfall past their store, for example.

When you take a step back and look at businesses – any entity that involves prospects and driving customers to making a purchase – it’s really astounding how essential data is to determining company sales, campaign success and forecasts (financial or marketing).

On the other hand, we’ve all had that call. You know the one I’m talking about…

‘I’m calling about the recent accident you had…’

‘You’re entitled to PPI…’

The one question that continually looms over me is: how did they get my number?!

You do have to question who is passing your data along to such irrelevant organisations, and unfortunately for some consumers there’ll be a tedious terms and conditions section that nobody has ever read that determines how their data can be shared. Nonetheless, it’s a great example on how data is driving companies to use resources when targeting potential customers.

As our world becomes increasingly digital, data is a more intrinsic part of day to day life. Companies are increasingly able to make genuine, logical decisions based on data analysis and predictions. Depending on the industry you’re in, things like reactive campaigns, seasonal campaigns or long-term customer acquisition plans can be sparked from the analysis of data. There are various providers of digital data insight. Universally, a ‘go-to’ tool is Google Analytics, which tracks everything from visitor footprints on a website, to mapping out customer journeys. Econsultancy says that more than half of businesses rely exclusively on Google Analytics for their web analytics, while just 11% don’t use the tool at all.

I think it’s great that companies are moving with technology and using data effectively (sometimes…), but what will happen when the majority of companies are reliant on data analysis with digital transformation taking place? How will data be managed?

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Data companies are rapidly forming their own industry – if you work in marketing or any campaign related departments, you’ll understand the daily cold emails from people trying to sell you data. Of course, there’s no guarantee that the data is any good or an assurance that any customers will be acquired. There’s even companies being set up that will allow you to sell your own data, such as Datacoup.

The management and cleansing of data is where the lucrative future will lead businesses and there are many products on the market that will claim to make it “easy” to cleanse, transform and visualise your data. Whilst each have their advantages and disadvantages, we currently recommend Qlik Sense or Power BI, depending on the business use case. Seemingly if you have good data, you have a half successful campaign before you even start.

Similarly, if you have an amazing campaign idea and bad data, then you’re doomed before you begin.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will also hold a place in the gargantuan task of managing data in the future, and will effectively drive the value of data to commercial industries. There are already computers built to automatically read unorganised data and create predictions and forecasts for businesses. It sounds a little too Terminator/Minority Report to me, but whatever makes the technological world go round.

In a world where everything is moving at the speed of light, it won’t be long till the norms we know now will change yet again. Artificial intelligence, like in many other industries will undoubtedly play a prevalent role in the makeup of data analytics in the future.

How much value are you getting out of your data?

Join TSG’s Qlik webinar and find out how you can make the most of your data