Some of the top tech trends this year are all about data — quality, visualization, and stories.
Big Data wasn’t always “big.” It was just data — usually company confidential information held about financial performance, inventory levels, customer and supplier lists, and so on. And it was usually segmented with access to specific pieces of information permitted to select employees based on their job function. The emergence of Big Data is changing all that.
Big data “suddenly emerged,” according to Seoyeon Kim, thanks to:
- The reduction in costs for hardware components like CPU, memory, and storage;
- The advancement in open source technologies; and
- Businesses started to pay attention to “unmanaged data” hoping to gain some business insights from it.
Ashley Stirrup says that “Big Data is maturing resulting in more advanced tools and smoother developments.”
Three essential components that enable insights from your data sets:
3 data trends for 2018
- Data stories
- Data management and quality
A well-told story is not soon forgotten. Think of telling your own stories about a fantastic vacation or hearing someone’s scary, brush-with-death adventure. An interesting story results in engaged listeners with interesting comments, questions, and ideas.
Christy Petty says a data story “contains data points on time, location, volume, trend, significance, and proportion. It uses empathy, and it has a plot and a hero. It ends with a question and some options.”
The data story contains most of the same elements as a personal story and, while perhaps not as dramatic, a data story should engage the audience and solicit the same kind of empathetic response and critical analysis.
Remember! Tailor your data story to your audience.
Data management and quality
In order to be useful, the unmanaged data needs to be managed.
Capgemini reported that “79% of organizations have not fully integrated their data sources across the organization. This means that decisions-makers lack a unified view of data, which prevents them from taking accurate and timely decisions.”
Quality data and the need to manage it will result in the creation of new roles within organizations, including Chief Digital Officers (CDO), according to Thor Olavsrud. The CDO will be responsible for finding the value in the data by understanding business needs, determining which data sets are best suited to meet those needs, and creating that unified view.
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Jen Underwood says analytics “deliver amazing results in the right hands” but require “unbiased, properly prepared data” and reminds us: “garbage in, garbage out.” (Source) She continues: “There is an art to preparing data for automated analysis” and this art requires a human touch.
“Data visualization is not just for data scientists any more” according to Devon Hopkins at CARTO, a location intelligence platform. He says that “employers are coming to expect a familiarity and comfort with data across their organizations, not just from their scientists and engineers. That is why he says we can expect to see more emphasis on visual representations of numerical data.
Both cloud-based and in-house analytics applications are readily available, so you can gain business insights through the use of visual representations of your data.
Pulling it all together
In order to use your data to the greatest benefit, quality data, managed data, and visualizations are the right way to go.
“Too often data story telling is interpreted as just visualizing data effectively. Data story telling is a structured approach for communicating data insights and it involves a combination of three key elements: data, visuals, and narrative” (Source).
First start with the narrative, then collect quality data, and finally support the story with impactful, relevant visualizations. This structured approach will enable data-driven insights and help you develop meaningful growth strategies.
For advice on server and storage hardware for your Big Data needs, contact a Hypertec representative.
This post is also available in: FR