Businesses are heeding the call to embrace big data due to an increased understanding of the significant benefits it can deliver. However, choosing the right platform can be difficult. Choosing the wrong platform can result in wasted investment with the data failing to provide actionable insights that drive the business forward. In fact, only a fraction of the data collected by companies is ever actually analysed.

Many companies get distracted by the idea that big data must be big to be useful. In fact, the only thing that matters is that the data delivers insights that allow the business to improve its operations and customer experience.

Implementing the right platform is crucial. It’s what lets the organisation collect, aggregate and analyse the data. Companies must implement a range of technologies and methodologies to build a data architecture that is secure, fosters collaboration, and can easily scale as business demands grow.

There are five key business drivers that should inform a business’s choice of data platform:

  1. Innovation

    To keep up with the fast pace of business, organisations must be able to innovate. It’s not enough to be good; organisations must be better than their existing and emerging competitors and they must constantly look for new ways to delight customers.

    Innovation is the only way to do this. That means understanding what customers want almost before they know it themselves, then delivering on these expectations. It can also mean finding ways to cut costs or improve efficiencies while delivering an outstanding customer experience.

  2. Value

    Businesses don’t have time for long, slow implementations and technologies that take a long time to get familiar with.

    They need solutions that are up and running soon, and that are intuitive and easy to use, so employees can start seeing quantifiable and scalable results. Data platforms that don’t deliver fast time to value are unlikely to find favour in a business environment that rewards speed.

  3. Leadership commitment

    It’s highly unlikely that a business will look to implement a data solution in a vacuum. Most businesses are already in the throes of a digital transformation to some extent, even if they’re just starting to digitise customer interactions or consider implementing ecommerce capabilities.

    And some organisations are a long way down the transformation track. The right data platform must complement existing transformation initiatives and technologies.

  4. Relevance

    Data analysis can deliver amazing insights but these are only useful if the decision-making team is disciplined enough to focus on what really matters and can be actioned, as opposed to what’s simply interesting. A data platform that helps decision-makers stay on track and remain relevant to customers is key.

  5. Risk

    Businesses have always looked to manage risk effectively. An effective data analysis platform can help identify risk in the organisation and identify ways to manage that risk.

    Each organisation has a different risk tolerance. This aversion to or acceptance of risk should inform which platform the business chooses.

Becoming data-centric requires more than simply choosing the right platform and assuming that it will do all the work. It requires a commitment from senior leaders in the organisation coupled with a genuine desire to become data-driven to realise the business benefits of data-centricity.

Organisations must have some clarity on areas such as inefficiency or value creation to build the initial drive for the platform. New opportunities will emerge over time from data access, collaboration and a data-driven culture that empowers staff.

Working with an expert partner to help extract maximum value from big data solutions is essential, especially for businesses that don’t have in-house data scientists and other resources that can effectively manage a data strategy from end to end.