We are currently living in a data-centric world, with business leaders dealing with more data on a day-to-day basis – and being asked to make more data-driven decisions than ever before. Businesses are also investing more in big data to help them develop a more competitive edge, which has led to a rise in the number of big data jobs too.
Although the world of business is becoming more and more data-focused, it is important to remember that data is useless without analysis. Data can be a great tool, yes, but its promise can’t be fulfilled without the right people approaching it in the right way, giving us the information we need to support better decision-making.
Data is not without risk. Yes, it can be a real help to your business, but it can also present you with several pitfalls too. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest data challenges faced by businesses today.
#1 Amplified Biases
Even with the sophisticated technology we have at our fingertips these days – which is able to exhaustively analyse even the most complicated data – there is still a need for a human being to look at the results and make a decision. When humans have to assess the meaning of data, they run the risk of falling foul of their own biases, by focusing on data that supports our position and ignoring any data that doesn’t. We are also liable to rely on the most recent data over historical data, and also rely more heavily on data which comes from sources we trust. These are all biases that mean there is more risk of potential of mistakes from data analysis.
#2 Growing Volumes of Data
As we have said above, we are producing data at a rapid rate these days, but the problem is that most of this data that’s being produced is unstructured – and this increases the complexity of not only capturing it, but analysing it too. Yes, there is software that can help with this challenge, as any good data engineer will tell you; but this data represents a huge amount of raw material that will need processing, and this comes with all of the other issues discussed in this article.
#3 Inconclusive Data Analyses
There is a danger that executives will just accept that the output of any data analysis is conclusive, when in fact data analysis usually doesn’t show causation, but correlation instead. This is important, as correlation can showcase a relationship between A and B but does not show that A causes B. Showing that A causes B is the ultimate goal for data analysis as it can help businesses make more accurate and insightful decisions - but it is also really hard to prove. The risk here is that many executives are trusting that the data is showing them a causal relationship when it isn’t, and they are making flawed decisions based on this.
#4 Too Much Data?
Data is a key focus for businesses at the moment, which means that more businesses are focused on capturing as much data about their customers as they can. A variety of software systems are used to capture this data, such as:
Customer service teams capturing data about phone calls and online chats
Customer insight teams using data to monitor customer satisfaction
Chief executives use data to define new strategies
Marketing team collecting data from customers attending events or downloading content
Sales team collect data from customers throughout the sales process
As you can see, this all adds up to a huge amount of data, but if all this data is inaccessible, or incomplete, or even duplicated, then it is more of a burden to us than a benefit. The way to solve this is to ensure the way we collect data is simplified and that all of your separate software systems are integrated. This can be an expensive effort though, as well as being time-consuming, and it is a never-ending task.
#5 Quality of Data
The results you get from analysing the data are only as good as the data that is fed into the system. Quality is one of the key risks associated with data, because if your data is garbage, then your decisions will be flawed. It is really important that businesses don’t just blindly trust their data quality but instead work with the best data candidates in order to ensure the data that is being fed in is of the highest quality.
The businesses that can leverage quality data to help them make more informed decisions will be the ones that are the most successful going forward. This is because they will be able to monitor and respond to changes in their customers’ needs faster than their competitors. If you want to win at big data, then you need to have the right people on board helping you to do that - which is where we come in.
The team at Agile Recruit are specialists in data recruitment and will work with you to ensure you have the right people on board to help your business to grow and develop. Get in touch with us at our Manchester Office on 0161 416 6633 or Milton Keynes on 0203 800 1222. You can also email us at email@example.com