The value of a data-driven approach

Data has the capability to drive businesses forward, providing valuable insight and opportunities for organisations.

Usage is set to see massive growth over the next few years, and the time is now for companies to begin planning an implementation.

In fact, data production is set to be 44 times greater in 2020 than 2009, according to research from CSC. This certainly highlights the speed at which the industry is moving, and the necessity of acting sooner, rather than later.

Failure to consider the benefits of data could mean businesses are left behind as competitors take advantage of useful information.

By using data with the right tools, people and intent, organisations can drive success across a number of areas within the company. For example, by better predicting how different trends impact the business.

Of course, there are a number of challenges that need to be addressed prior to jumping on board.

The benefits and challenges of data

Access to data means it's easier for companies to analyse their particular market, especially when it comes to revealing new insights.

The applications of increased data access are broad, and it means the information can be used by many sectors. For example, a medical institution may take advantage of data to better understand a particular disease, while a supermarket chain could see what products perform well.

If managed correctly, data can also be deployed without interfering with standard business operations. However, there are still challenges.

In a Bain and Company survey, the organisation found that 56 per cent of executive respondents reported they were not up to the challenge of identifying and prioritising relevant insights.

The company explained the required business approach: "Successful analytics teams build those capabilities by blending data, technical and business talent.

The company outlined the required business approach, stating that successful analytics teams blended data, technical and business talent to achieve results.

Security is another key area that requires attention, as increased data access could leave a business with a higher chance of important information leaking – whether or not it's intentional. It's here where a focus on IT security is necessary.

US Department of Energy deploys data-centric technologies

The US Department of Energy has recently recognised the value of data, and adopted a "data centric" approach with IBM. The government department awarded two contracts to develop and subsequently deliver advanced super computing systems focused on data.

According to IBM, these systems could not have come at a better time for the department, as the world is now generating over 2.5 billion gigabytes of data every day.

Managing and analysing this information requires the appropriate systems, which IBM was capable of providing.

Through the use of the data centric approach to architecture, a system pioneered by IBM researchers, the Department of Energy can better manage and effectively utilise relevant information.

The value of project management

As data continues to grow as a key consideration for businesses, it's essential to utilise effective management. Often, a framework such as PRINCE2 is the best course of action.

This methodology, which is taught to employees of a company via a series of courses, provides the necessary knowledge to effectively handle a large business transition, such as a shift to increased data usage.

Once in place, the company can scale operations to take advantage of data, using the more detailed information to benefit operations.

To start the PRINCE2 certification process, it's a good idea to speak to a professional from a leading provider, such as ALC Training.

It's not just government departments that can use data, however, as companies of all sizes can benefit from increased access to information.

Looking ahead, it's going to become ever-more important to consider the value of data implementation as production increases.