The basic business axiom ‘knowledge is power’ is all well and good, but where does this knowledge come from? In modern commerce it’s from data, and the sharp rise in data creation, collection and analysis is proving a huge development and asset for businesses of all types.
The data explosion
Data creation has exploded in recent times – amazingly, 90 per cent of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone. Data trails are created all the time through communications, online activity and social media platforms, with a billion and a half people active on Facebook each day and more than 450,000 tweets sent on Twitter every minute.
Data can be collected from the tech used by companies every day, including POS systems tracking customer habits and trends when processing purchases, mobile apps and websites.
An underused resource
While tech such as Big Data is all about collecting and using data to infirm decisions and drive profits, the fact is that there is currently massive under-utilization of data gathered.
Current industry research says that most organizations only analyze about 12 per cent of their collected data, so there is tremendous scope to make more of this.
It’s little wonder professionals such as data scientists are so well paid and in demand as these experts help make sense of the mountains of data being collected; there’s a shortage of these and related skills currently.
Each person is a non-stop data producer
You’ve only got to think about the average person going about their daily activities to see how data is generated constantly and from multiple sources:
Using the Internet – more than 3.7 billion people use the Internet and the most widely used search engine, Google, processes 40,000 searches a second.
Social media – (the following are per minute rates): Snapchat users share more than 500,000 photos, Instagram users share 46,000-plus posts, and more than four million YouTube videos are watched.
On the largest social media platform, Facebook, five new profiles are created every second and more than 300 million photos are uploaded each day.
Communications – (the following are per minute rates): 16 million text messages are sent; 156 emails are sent (of which over 103 million are spam) and more than 150,000 Skype calls are made.
Data tech such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things) is used for innovations such as connecting ‘smart’ devices to interact with each other and, in the process, collects various types of data; some 200 billion such devices are expected to exist by 2020 – up from two billion in 2006.
That in itself represents a huge amount of data gathering.
Using the data
In the case of IoT and AI, data is collected and used to perform functions such as connecting ‘smart’ devices and – before long – will facilitate such tech as the driverless car.
Other data capture is used to analyze trends, market to customers, and help businesses and organizations learn more about customers both actual and potential and their markets generally.
This will become more important and more effective as, eventually, data analysis catches up with the amount of data being created or at least narrows the gap.