The excitement and promise of big data have been buzzing around for ages – at least in the corporate memory of big business.
Countless claims about the scope and impact of big data increase in volume as they wash over the collective mindset of business leaders.
The creation and consumption of data continue to grow exponentially and at the curtain call of 2017 is achieving huge proportions.
This fact alarms some; excites others; and perplexes many.
Companies line up to proclaim that they love big data, but they worry about big data swamps.
They like even less the idea of big data stuck in separate silos of their organisation, which essentially renders that data useless.
A relatively new arrival to the corporate ranks of C level seems to be the flavour.
The growing appointments of an army of chief data officers were highlighted by New Vantage Partners, strategic advisors in business innovation to Fortune 1000 business and technology executives, in its 5th annual executive survey for 2017 on big data.
It found that more than 85% of respondents report that their firms have started programmes to create data-driven cultures.
In support of this trend a majority of firms (55.9%), reported to having appointed a chief data officer, 48.3% believe that the primary role of the chief data officer should be to drive innovation and establish a data culture, and 41.4% indicate that the role of the CDO should be to manage and leverage data as an enterprise business asset.
Its survey unearthed the following cautionary advice: “Technology is not the problem. The culprits include management understanding, organisational alignment, and general organisational resistance. If only people were as malleable as data,” say the authors of the NVP report.
So how might this burgeoning and intimidating big data landscape play out in 2018?
Three interwoven data-driven trends will likely occupy the energies of business leaders over the next 12 months:
1. Dumping the data silos
In 2018, we will see organisations move away from siloed data.
HR and finance systems which have traditionally kept HR data and finance data separate will come together in the cloud.
We will see the seamless integration of data from different sources and this will allow organisatons to fully harness the power of their data.
It will also provide richer insights and greater business agility.
2. Here come the data warriors
Self-service analytics will take a front seat as data is put in the hands of users.
In 2018, more self-service technologies will be integrated into business applications and business users will become more data-driven.
Business leaders will continue to see the power of having real-time data to enable them to make better decisions.
Data, from different sources, will be combined to allow quicker, and more accurate, analysis and users will be empowered to access workforce insights.
3. An intelligent future
Artificial Intelligence will continue to move deeper into the enterprise and will dramatically affect how work is done.
We have seen automation free people up from repetitive data-centric jobs and allow them to focus more on value-add work, and we have also seen businesses starting to use intelligent predictions and insights to make informed decisions and planning.
Both of these will continue as we expect to see employees and business leaders become more proficient at using intelligence to enhance their business decisions.