In a recent Chief Information Officer (CIO) survey conducted in India, the Middle East and Africa, an overwhelming 90% of respondents agreed that speed, reinvention, agility and innovation are critical to the success of any organization. Especially businesses that are serious about optimizing performance and in return gaining a competitive advantage.
In today’s business environment, to achieve this – and faster and more effective decision-making –companies need to increase their access to business intelligence data in real time. In fact, companies that can successfully leverage their data, to gain greater business and consumer insight,are able to set themselves far apart from competitors.
What is Big Data?
Think of all the data that resides in a company’s business systems, now add to the mix the plethora of data coming from the web and social networks. This is big data – and it’s not just big, it’s colossal. These sources of information are vast and have to be sifted through and analyzed before any meaningful action can take place, but the sheer amount of data makes this a difficult task – especially when it continues to grow.
In fact, a study by analyst house, IDC has found that by 2020, India will see a 25-fold growth in useful information that will make the adoption of big data technologies and practices a significant opportunity for enterprises. The study also estimates that India’s digital universe (digital bits captured or created each year) is expected to grow by 50% every year from 127 exabytes (EB) to 2.9 zettabytes (ZB) between 2012 and 2020.
It is imperative for companies to start analyzing the reservoir of data that resides within them. Big data should ideally be viewed as a business strategy for capitalizing on information resources, not just as a technology.
Advantages of Harnessing Big Data
Improved visibility into business process makes it possible to track trends, identify problem areas, facilitate precise quoting, and provide accurate procurement and better planning. With this in mind, this has a direct impact on meeting customers’ needs promptly and more efficiently.
Big Data allows for ever-narrower segmentation of customers and therefore a product can be much more precisely tailored for each company. Big Data can also be used to develop the next generation of products and services. For instance, manufacturers can use data obtained from sensors embedded in their products to create innovative after-sales service offerings – for example proactive maintenance or upgrade options.
Using data to improve business intelligence is crucial for quick decision making based on real facts. Also, leveraging technology and data makes it possible to organise data based on facts and focus areas, so companies can make the most of resources and maximise profitability.
Big data can bring with it complexity but the right tools,such as an efficientERP,can help to organise, prioritise and extract critical information. This makes justifying the expense of implementing anERP solution simple, as the benefits it offers directly impacts the bottom line.
Capitalizing on Big Data
For many businesses, the data they collect doesn’t have sufficient value because it is not delivered in real-time to the correct decision makers, in a format that is easily digestible. To capitalize on big data benefits the critical first step is to consider how much data the company has at its disposal. Most companies collect vast troves of data but typically use it only for tracking purposes, not as a basis for improving operations. The second step is to invest in the right systems and skill sets that will allow them to organize and interpret data in order to use the results to their advantage. For instance centralizing data from multiple sources to enable it to be analyzed faster and more easily. Also to train staff to spot patterns and take actionable insights.
Using ERP to solve Big Data challenges
Using ERP, businesses can consolidate data from various functions into the same application. This means that all of the data is stored in the same place and it becomes simpler to analyze data from multiple business functions. As all data is now in the same place, query toolscan be applied to analyze the data. Leveraging the data stored in the ERP system can help businesses improve processes, make better decisions and forecasts and enhance collaboration within and without i.e. with employees, partners and with end customers.
As information continues to explode and becomes the currency of the new information age, being able to access information at the right time for decision making will separate the laggards from the winners. It is therefore imperative for businesses to take cognizance of their ERP systems and ensure that it is geared to leverage this trend of Big Data.
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