23rd May 2017

‘Big Data’ is a phrase we are hearing more and more in the digital age. Rapid technological advances, coupled with wider accessibility to relevant information, have resulted in the field gaining more importance and adoption in recent times. Despite being a relatively new concept, Big Data is already helping to reshape corporate decision-making across a range of sectors.

Far more than simply backing up a report with numbers, data analytics centres around presenting and using these numbers in such a way as to drive actionable business intelligence; from trends in sales and customer behaviour, to patterns in performance management, operations and supply chain. The explanatory and predictive models produced have encouraged business owners to allow Big Data to influence key business decisions and future strategy.

Organisations are now in a position where they collect vast amounts of useful information every single day. While many utilise these figures to derive actionable insight, there is still a vast number of companies oblivious to the fact they hold this data, never mind the benefits it can yield. By not actively extracting, analysing and acting upon this data, they are missing out on the opportunity to add significant value to their business.

This could be down to any number of factors, and organisations should not be put off by the admittedly long, drawn-out process that data analytics can be. Some may also feel they are too small, or don’t produce enough data to draw meaningful results. Both factors are irrelevant, as meaningful business intelligence can be produced through any data set, regardless of size. SMEs, for example, are sitting on extensive data sets that could generate worthwhile information and potentially drive the business forward through the next phase of growth.

Valuable data is only beneficial, however, if used to drive actionable insight. Data analytics can be used to measure all aspects of your business (marketing, sales, customers, finance, operations etc.), meaning future decisions can be made based on concrete evidence, as opposed to gut instinct or second guessing.

It’s not just about driving sales and making smarter business decisions however, data analytics can also be used to give organisations an increased understanding of their history, help to define company culture and values as well as identify interesting trends and opportunities for innovation.

The application and embedding of data analytics in a business can be a long journey and significant results should not be expected overnight. However, those that have started their journey early are reaping the rewards and gaining distinct advantage over their competitors.

UNW has significant expertise in this area, and our clients have benefitted from in-depth analysis on financial, transactional and operational data. For more information on how data analytics can add value to your business, please contact Laura Hudson, Data Analyst, at laurahudson@unw.co.uk or on 0191 243 6000.

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