business_intelligence saasThe Internet debuted way back in 1984, when it connected more than 1000 hosts at university and corporate labs. It took the World Wide Web almost 15 years to grow to 50 million users. In 2009, there were more than a billion users around the world, and now, seven years later, we have almost 3.5 billion users according to Internet Live Stats. Every day, all of those people create more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data according to IBM – so much that almost 90% of the data in history has been created in the last two years alone. And all of those volumes of data have to be put in use somehow.

Gartner predicts that by 2017, most business analysts will have access to self-service tools to prepare data for analytics. The preparation of data remains one of the most time-consuming challenges facing users of data discovery tools and business intelligence analytics, but new data preparation capabilities are emerging every day, and soon, they will be able to provide business analysis the ability to access, profile, prepare and integrate data for analysis and consumption by BI SaaS platforms.

Leveraging the Already-Collected Data

Even though most companies go out of their way to gather as much data as they can, most critical data doesn’t even get used. In fact, research by the Forester Wave revealed that between 60 and 73 percent of data goes unused for business intelligence analytics. With an increasing number of smart devices, collecting large amounts of data is not a problem anymore. However, it is not easy to get that data in a suitable format that companies can work with, and data means nothing if the right technology is not applied to it. So the big question here is – why not leverage all those BI analytics available and use it to improve your company?

Salesforce has established the Wave platform, devoted to analytics; Apttus has also brought such functionality to businesses with Dynamic CPQ and Panorama has developed Necto, a BI software tool that delivers key business insights and help companies achieve their key organizational objectives. As tools such as these continue to develop, companies around the world will be able to use all of their data to understand any bottlenecks that are occurring within their business process and drive better results based on this information. These analytics will also help businesses leverage consumer data, and enable them to ensure that each customer always gets the right product, at the right price.

Analyzing and Understanding the Customers

In most cases, the development and execution of a marketing campaign is a guessing game, but this uncertainty can practically be eliminated using data driven analytics. Collecting all of the information and compiling it in a meaningful way will definitely help any organization understand customer behavior and enable the marketing department to target their efforts to a specific customer demographic at specific times. Data-driven decisions can also help companies forecast the effectiveness of certain marketing campaigns before they are even launched.

Furthermore, interpreting data in page views, conversions and other consumer actions can help companies identify opportunities and guide their user experience design. According to an IBM-sponsored, eMarketer survey, less than 25% of marketers in the United States are able to measure the customer experience “moderately well”, and what’s more, only around 10% claim to do it “extremely well”. While creating an experience that is universally loved is practically impossible, companies can create user experiences that will suit a specific demographic.

Gaining a Serious Advantage Over the Competition

Every company has to use all of the resources it has to make itself better, and that is what these new developments in BI will enable them to do. According to a recent Gartner report, business intelligence analytics market will grow to 20 billion dollars by the end of the decade. This is an increasingly competitive business, and it is crucial that companies leverage all the tools available to drive results. For this reason, organizations should start analyzing the data they already possess, in order to understand the market, as well as their customers better, and effectively stand out from the crowd.

Data preparation is quickly becoming a critical capability of experts, who traditionally relied on others to get the data sorted out and ready from them. In order to transform unsorted data into information on demand, people doing customer targeting, risk analysis and marketing operations will need the necessary tools and skills to handle self-service data preparation at scale. As the gap widens between all of the data and the people who know how to analyze it and use it, companies that do not adapt to modern standards will experience big data blunders, such as embarrassing data quality errors and miscalculation of data.

Nate Vickery is a business technology expert and a futurist mostly engaged in research and implementation of the latest technology trends into SMBs management and marketing processes. Nate is also an editor at Bizzmarkblog.