We’ve come a long way since the dawn of the internet. In an age of ubiquitous connectivity, continuous monitoring, smart devices, social media and apps, organizations have access to more data about their customers, their operations, and their resources than ever before. And yet, for many companies, data analytics continues to play but a limited role in their daily business.
Businesses compete based on their ability to predict
The fact of the matter is, many business users – overwhelmed by the sheer volume and complexity of their data – see data mining as an overly time-consuming and complicated activity, and instead rely to their own intuition and experience. This, unfortunately, is neither measurable nor replicable.
Why use analytics? Analytics takes into account limitless data points, finds patterns and correlations, and uncovers connections that may not have been apparent to the average business user.
Machine learning is like building intuition and providing it to users throughout your organization. Insights learnt this way could help identify, attract and retain your most profitable customers, predict demand and optimize inventories, minimize risk and fraud, and retain talent and boost customer satisfaction and much more — without you having to crunch the numbers yourself.
Building predictive capabilities is simpler than ever
Driven by the data explosion and the rise of the cloud, analytics is now going mainstream. The commoditization of Business Intelligence (BI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and platforms, has meant that businesses can easily access enterprise-grade predictive analytics and machine learning capabilities — all without the big budgets for costly software or expensive in-house data expertise, or the difficulties of complicated IT implementations and steep end user learning curves.
Microsoft’s Power BI is a tool that enables you to aggregate, clean and analyze your existing data sources, and create user friendly dashboards that enable your company’s users to stay up-to-date with important business data, easily spot trends, and share interactive reports.
Microsoft’s Cortana Intelligence is a cloud-based platform which enables you to build analytics into your business applications, or create custom solutions from scratch or from pre-configured templates and off-the-shelf analytics solutions for specific industries or business functions.
The beauty of these platforms is in their ability to bring together various disparate sources of data, connect them with your choice of machine learning APIs, and deliver actionable insights in a user-friendly, interactive interface. This enables business users – whether in Finance, HR, Marketing, IT Management, Sales, Supply Chain etc. – to have improved visibility and control over business data to make intelligent, fact-based decisions. This is what will enable companies to anticipate, innovate and gain the first-mover advantage, while lowering operational costs and risks.
Driving business agility through data-backed insights
The ability to understand and rapidly act upon data will form the basis on which businesses compete in the coming years. If companies want to remain relevant, it is imperative that they effectively harness the power of their data through predictive analytics. Thanks to recent developments in BI and AI, building an analytics platform is easier, and more cost-effective than ever, and the short and long-term benefits are immeasurable.