As the more experienced in business could attest, the evolution of computing to respond to business needs has picked up pace in recent years with talk of technologies today that, only a few years ago, could have been the product of the wildest of imaginations. Owing to this dramatic progression, “Big Data” has become a buzz phrase that, not so long ago would have confused many. Now Data and Analytics (D&A) has entered the mainstream. The issue is no longer about owning the most data, but rather how to get the most insight from it.
Other than it being another complicated piece of IT jargon, what is D&A and why does it matter to the modern businessman? D&A entails examining raw data with the purpose of drawing conclusions about that information.
The role of D&A in the future of business is unquestionably huge. Gone are the days where experience and intuition played a solitary role in making effective business decisions. With the constantly changing dynamics in the business environment there is a need to collect, analyse and interrogate the right data to make decisions that respond to the ever-changing business climate. This however requires that business recognises D&A as a strategic imperative, not just a pure IT play. Boards of Directors are now called upon to have a new set of core competencies in order to make use of the data at their disposal to learn new things and gain greater insight about their business and markets.
Like with every resource available to business, the effectiveness of data is heavily dependent on the quality thereof. Boards will rely on the effective collection, analysis and interpretation of the data. Are our accountants sufficiently equipped? Are our accounting systems ready? And, are we collecting the relevant data? Interestingly, the effective operation of D&A does not necessarily require new systems and tools. Existing business practices would need to be blended with new big data and analytics to drive both legacy and emerging strategies.
So, the race is on. Accountants, business advisors and auditors are investing heavily in D&A capabilities so as to be more competitive in today’s environment. As business, the right questions will need to be asked, and the right insights sought. It will not be the organisations that have the most sophisticated systems or the best experienced leaders that will succeed, but rather those most willing to embed D&A in their strategy.
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