Information is a fundamental currency of business created from the raw material of data.
“Although in recent years that resource has become abundant almost beyond belief, our ability to benefit from this insight has lagged behind,” claims Tim Jennings, research analyst, Ovum.
Jennings believes that organisations must therefore scale up their information factory, accelerate their business processes, and become obsessive about applying data to all aspects of their decision-making, or risk becoming uncompetitive and irrelevant in the modern data-driven era.
“Data intensity is growing rapidly across all sectors, not only in those industries such as financial services that are information-centric by nature, but also in asset-based industries such as energy and manufacturing, and in government and public services,” Jennings adds.
“At the centre of this shift is the customer or citizen, who has become a focal point and organising principle for many organisations, working backwards from the end goal of an excellent customer experience to define the supporting activities that this requires.”
For best-in-class businesses, Jennings believes the obsession with data entails its application to every aspect of their operations, from the optimisation of business processes, through to decision support for more complex strategic problems.
It involves interrogating as wide a range of sources as possible, both internal and external, structured and unstructured, and delivering the resulting insight at a speed that can match or even accelerate those operational and decision-making processes.
Increasingly this requires real-time or near real-time data analysis and presentation, which has significant implications for the data to insight process.
“There is a big caveat here though,” Jennings adds, “however powerful the technology deployed, if the organisation does not also upgrade its foundational data management processes and its information management strategy to match, then the outcome will at best be indiscriminate and at worst chaotic.
“From a strategy perspective, organisations must define their information needs and capabilities in support of business objectives, while data management processes must be sufficiently robust so that insight can be generated from data in a systematic and repeatable fashion.”