Gauteng Business News

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INFOTECH: Change Information Into Business Insights


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In the global marketplace, businesses, suppliers and customers are creating and consuming vast amounts of information. Gartner predicts that enterprise data in all forms will grow 650 percent over the next five years. According to IDC, the world's volume of data doubles every 18 months. This flood of data, often referred to as “information overload,” “data deluge” and “big data,” clearly creates a challenge for business leaders.

So where is all this data coming from and what business value does it have‘ Who’s demanding this data and who’s creating it‘ And, are companies prepared to deal with the onslaught of data‘ Gerald Naidoo, CEO of Logikal Consulting says that the data deluge is real. “When it comes to ‘big data’, business leaders are caught in a trap of ‘can't live with it/can't live without it’. While the modern-day crush of information generated by e-mail, word docs, spreadsheets and other content sources is difficult to manage, it's also considered mission-critical for organisations,” he says.

Across industries, regions and companies large and small, executives report the exponential growth in data and ability to access to critical information is creating very real business challenges. Many business executives feel overwhelmed by the amount of data their company manages, and many are often delayed in making important decisions as a result of too much information.

The Risk of Information Overload

“It’s clear information overload is real and causing problems for business leaders. Despite feeling overwhelmed, there’s an insatiable desire for more data. And the complexity of this data overload is only projected to increase. In fact, the world’s volume of data doubles every 18 months, and enterprise data in all forms will grow 650 percent over the next five years, according to industry forecasts,” Naidoo says.

All of this is leaving companies overwhelmed, with too much of the data being irrelevant, outdated or otherwise “bad”. And, adds Kevin Mani, Managing Executive at Logikal Consulting, only a minority of executives see their company data as a strategic differentiator. Most, instead, see it as a consequence of doing business.

“Despite the increasing volume of data, pressure to keep up with customer expectations and focus on technology investments, today’s companies are still struggling to see data as a driver of real business value. Enterprises have an opportunity to leverage their data to create new revenue streams and generate new businesses through effective management. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is essential to achieve this,” Mani says.

How To Control Information for your Business

According to Naidoo, businesses must employ a holistic approach to data management – a new approach for many – and one that focuses on the following stages in the data lifecycle:

• Identify: Today, every business is a digital company; and every customer or employee is a content producer. The first step to creating business value is to prepare a company to be able to quickly accommodate new data sources, then to understand where the data is coming from, who is creating it and where the content lives.
• Filter: The second step is to determine what information is important and what information does not matter and provide tools and data management policies that enable staff to effectively filter information for relevance quickly. It is vital to consider how the company will use the data. Next, companies must identify what filters to apply, how to categorize the data and then, establish processes so that producers (all employees and customers) are more accountable for the information they are creating.
• Distribute: Because different information is intended for different levels, locations and business units, companies must utilise a distribution mechanism that is both automated and intelligent.
• Apply: Overall, businesses must evolve from data analysis to insight to prediction. Applying the right data in the right case is crucial to this evolution. Some companies may even find opportunities to monetise data in new ways and create competitive differentiation.
“Companies must develop a ‘data culture’ where executives, employees and strategic partners are active participants in managing a meaningful data lifecycle. Tomorrow’s successful companies will be equipped to harness new sources of information and take responsibility over accurate data creation and maintenance. This will enable businesses to turn data from information into business insights,” Mani concludes.

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