Use Innovation to Offset Unpredictability in 2015

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bigdataInformation is the resolution of uncertainty – Claude Shannon

What could your business have done differently in 2014? Are there areas where you could have made some changes to improve company performance, security or efficiency?

Most importantly – do you have the data you need to support decisions that could take you to the next level in 2015?

One of the best emerging trends in business is the power of data. Transforming silos of information into a more collaborative and useful set of tools. New systems allow the integration of mobile, cloud, social and other platforms that provide access to real-time information.

IDC predicts that in the next three years, those who fail to adopt a data-driven strategy will no longer be able to effectively meet consumer demands.

To be a truly data-driven organization, companies cannot rely on outdated technologies. Access to big data is easier than you think, and for business this is great news. It means more data, from more sources – giving businesses real information they can use to analyze current bottlenecks  market performance, customer service and finance.

While technology is a critical component of business success, becoming a data-driven organization is about more than just investing in the right technologies. This transformation needs to be complemented with a cultural shift toward analytically oriented decisions and processes.  IDC

Basing business decisions on the information at hand can certainly help improve communication, performance and predictive capabilities – all key factors in innovating, thriving, and moving in the right direction.

A recent report published by the Harvard Business Review highlights the truly transformative power of data:

Companies perform best when finance operates not as a gatekeeper but as a true business partner – a strategic adviser, an identifier of opportunities, a facilitator on seizing and capitalizing on those opportunities. Without that partnership, companies evolving and competing in an ever-changing marketplace are almost certainly destined to fall short.

Getting your business to move to more innovative solutions is easier than ever. With cloud-based business process software, implementations can be as short as 90 days, without significant upfront investments and without putting the day to day operations of your business on hold.

Instead of faxing, emailing or mailing spreadsheets, and spending hours manually pulling together financial or sales information from multiple sources, cloud technologies enable you to keep your data in one location, secure access to those who need it, and generate real-time analytical data and reporting.

Employees can access from anywhere across the globe,  collaborate and create process efficiency.   Once you start getting the right systems in place, data helps you to better understand your current position, performance and risks and develop a plan based on factual information.

In the uncertain economic times we face, timing is everything. Just last week, IDC released its IDC Worldwide Big Data and Analytics Predictions for 2015:

The Big Data technology and services market represents a fast-growing multi-billion dollar worldwide opportunity and is expanding rapidly. “Leading organizations are changing how they measure their operations, interactions with customers, and resource allocations,” said Dan Vesset Program Vice President for Business Analytics and Big Data research. “Faster access to more relevant data and constant experimentation is creating a further gap between leaders and the rest of the organizations. It is also creating new challenges for IT and business leaders tasked with their organization’s big data and analytics strategy and execution.” 

According to a recent study by The Economist, technology development is expected to be rapid enough that “nearly four in ten”  surveyed executives are worried that their organizations will not be able to keep up with technology demands and lose their competitive edge.

In order to ensure their longevity, the report concludes that “business leaders and their teams must … think ahead about the types of changes that may be wrought by technology-led innovation.”

The great news is that in a survey of more than 500 managers and executives by the Harvard Business Review Analytics Services indicates that new technologies, including cloud technology, social media, big data and analytics are already helping businesses run better.

Researching new technologies to help your business innovate and anticipate  opportunities and potential risks starts with you. Look ahead to the end of 2015 and identify what you can do today to get you to a healthier business position tomorrow.