There is a pressing need for more business people who can think quantitatively and make decisions based on data and analysis, and business people who can do so will become increasingly valuable. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report on big data, we’ll need over 1.5 million more data-savvy managers to take advantage of all the data we generate.
But to borrow a phrase from Professor Xiao-Li Meng — you don’t need to become a winemaker to become a wine connoisseur. Managers do not need to become quant jocks. But to fill the alarming need highlighted in the McKinsey report, most do need to become better consumers of data, with a better appreciation of quantitative analysis and just as important — an ability to communicate what the numbers mean.
Too many managers are, with the help of their analyst colleagues, simply compiling vast databases of information that never see the light of day, or that only get disseminated in auto-generated business intelligence reports. As a manager, it’s not your job to crunch the numbers; it is your job to communicate them. Never make the mistake of assuming that the results will “speak for themselves.”
Data visualization is one of the innovations of our time. From the moment most of us wake up in the morning and fire up our tablets, smartphones, and laptops, visual representations of data fill our lives. Developments in, for example, stock markets, sports, and science, are increasingly told through data visualization. We encounter beautifully rendered “infographics” to explain trends and patterns in data. News organizations such as The New York Times compete on analytics by serving up infographics to shed light on aspects of news stories that would otherwise be buried in text. Such infographics are shared widely in blogs and social media, turning what might otherwise have been obscure data findings into the day’s biggest buzz.
Insight #1: Future plans are focused on analytics.
Insight #2: Marketing functions are the biggest users of visual data discovery and analysis.
Insight #3: Time series analysis is an important focus for visualization
A quick look across the business landscape reveals some powerful use cases that may help get your creative juices flowing on how Big Data can work for you.
Less Emergency Room Trips = $4.5 Million Savings
Big Brown Truck (UPS)Goes High-Tech
Big Data Is Fashion’s New Black
When Big Data Goes Bad
Life and Death Cases in the News
Can business intelligence (BI) solutions, software that helps organizations mine and analyze big data and small, help your company improve its bottom line? To find out, CIO.com asked dozens of BI experts and IT executives. Here are their eight top suggestions regarding how you can get a positive return on your BI software investment.
1. Get fast answers to critical business questions.
2. Align business activities with corporate strategy.
3. Empower employees
4. Reduce time spent on data entry and manipulation.
5. Gain insights into customers.
6. Benchmark sales channel partners.
7. Identify areas for cost cutting.
8. Boost productivity (by monitoring employees’ use of the network/Internet)