CIOs and IT managers are constantly required to stay informed of the latest technology that can drive business growth and competitive advantages. With the plethora of technologies available, IT executives need to prioritise on what can impact the most and will serve as a key long-term investment in the years to come.If there is one thing that IT executives simply cannot ignore for their own benefit, it is ‘Big Data’ analytics technology. Here are a few reasons as to how Big Data analytics can prove immensely useful for businesses.Why Big Data?The exponential growth of data means that businesses reliant on using extracting valuable insights out of large datasets for better decision making and strategy will have to manage much larger datasets than terabytes – petabytes, exabytes and zetabytes. Such a large magnitude of data implies that available and existing technologies simply cannot process the stupendous amounts of data that will have to be managed in the next few years.Business intelligence activities such as data mining and predictive analytics will become obsolete and firms will lose their competitive grasp in their respective markets or industries. Large-scale critical functions such as countrywide or large online marketing campaigns, surveys, and research statistics will only reflect better results as more data is tested, experimented and observed.Companies that are quick to adopt Big Data analytics, will leap years ahead of some of their closest and fiercest rivals. Competition in the market is increasingly being shaped and dictated by how much and how easily can data be processed to give value-adding information that can enhance business activities and processes.Technologies such as cloud computing have already materialised as an important source of competitive advantage allowing many smaller firms to grow and compete directly with larger corporations. Big Data on the other hand, will not be far off from the advantages it can offer to SMBs and can be a significant competitive advantage is implemented and utilised effectively.Important things to consider before moving to Big DataBig Data has a lot of benefits; however, businesses should also be prepared to ask the important questions that can determine how effectively it can be utilised. With big data are big questions and challenges and companies should embrace it from a realistic point of view. Here are some:Do we have the skill-set to manage large data processing?As favourable as Big Data analytics tools may seem, obtaining the right talent for the job can be a big challenge. Big data experts that have superior numeracy and quantitative skills are not exactly readily available. Also, the experts must be experts in the industry they are number crunching for. Companies need to consider hiring not only personnel proficient in big data but also be familiar with the ground realities of their respective industry or market.Can greater data processing ensure organisational control?Big data is bound to result in extremely large data processing tools and companies need to be strict on what constitutes control, which personnel has access to data, and how it can be efficiently shared for greater organisational performance. This is because as more information piles up, there is a great risk of losing power and questions pertaining to what should be measured will become of critical importance.How is valuable information determined?Greater volume of data will make it more difficult for companies to determine what is value adding for their decision making and what is irrelevant. Companies need to specify and narrow down information that will be critical, and if this is not done, a lot of valuable time and resources will become devoted to processing information that is deemed unnecessary and unimportant.
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