In a digital world, the winning organizations will be the ones that successfully find new customers, discover new markets, and pursue new revenue streams using digital channels. New, digital competitors are surfacing in every industry to challenge incumbents. The only way to compete is to evolve, transform, and fully embrace digital technologies. One of the most powerful ways to transform is to use what you already know – the unstructured data encircling your business every day. Knowing you have this information is one thing, but using it to gain insight into your current and future business drivers is something else entirely. To make that leap, a business needs analytics everywhere.
Today, the analysis of structured data – data that sits neatly in a database – is a well-used business tool. New, rich graphical interfaces enable organizations to use this data to easily identify trends. Unstructured data, however, cannot be sorted into a table as easily – so it tends to be overlooked. Yet unstructured data – including emails, voicemails, written documents, PowerPoint presentations, social media feeds, surveys, legal depositions, web pages, videos and more – offer a rich mine of information to inform business insights.
Advances in analytics and content management software are already giving companies more power to cross-examine unstructured content, rather than relying on intuition and gut instinct. Now, analytics can quickly identify patterns and offer a new level of insight into business operations.
In addition, predictive and prescriptive analytics also offer unprecedented benefits in the digital world. Consider, for instance, the data collected from a bank’s web chat service. Customer service managers cannot read through millions of lines of “free-text.” Yet ignoring this wealth of information is not an option. Utilising sophisticated data analytics allows the bank to spot and understand trends, such as common product complaints or frequently asked questions, and identify new product categories or business opportunities.
Enabling businesses to make the most of relevant information is a core principle of modern enterprise information management. But analysing unstructured information needs to extend beyond the confines of the organization. Enterprises also need to unlock the value of the invaluable information passing between them and their trading partners across a supply chain or business network.
As usage of business networks has increased, so too have the types and amounts of information flowing across them. Orders, invoices, delivery information, partner performance – imagine the value of understanding the detail behind all that information; imagine the insight it can provide to future planning.
Recently, business networks have increased the speed and efficiency of the supply chain, but it is now time for the next generation of business networks. These can provide customers with deeper business process support and rich analytics across their entire trading partner ecosystem. As a result, organisations can gain clearer insights into transactions flowing across the network, identify issues and exceptions earlier, take corrective action and prevent problems occurring.
Data analytics will soon develop even further, providing far more extensive visibility into the information flowing across a business network or supply chain. In just a few years, business networks will be enhanced by supporting automatic machine-to-machine data feeds coming from a large number of ‘connected devices’. Implementing advanced data analytics will enable organizations to analyse information coming from these connected devices, providing even deeper levels of visibility into data trends and allowing them to streamline supply chain processes even further.
Advanced data analytics is already offering insight into previously elusive areas, and no area is seemingly harder to understand than the current race to be the US presidential candidates.
In today’s digital landscape, organizations must embrace digital technology or risk being outpaced and outgunned by digital disruptors. Smaller, more agile start-ups are pushing the boundaries of what is possible with analytics by using and optimising the information at their fingertips to unlock business. Predictive and prescriptive analytics will define the future of each and every business, and organizations of all sizes must consider how best to incorporate analytics everywhere in order to retain and grow their market share.
Adam Howatson is the Chief Marketing Officer at OpenText