We live 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.
Although the business world is becoming more and more data-focused, it is important to remember that data is useless without analysis. Data can be a great tool, 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 really help your business, but it can also present you with several pitfalls. Let’s look at some of the biggest data challenges businesses face today.
#1 Amplified Biases
Even with the sophisticated technology we have at our fingertips – which can analyse even the most complicated data exhaustively – 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 risk 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 rely more heavily on data from sources we trust. These are all biases that mean there is more risk of potential 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 accept that the output of any data analysis is conclusive when 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 are the ultimate goal for data analysis as it can help businesses make more accurate and insightful decisions is also really hard to prove. The risk here is that many executives trust 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 possible. 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
- The marketing team collects data from customers attending events or downloading content
- The 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, incomplete, or even duplicated, it is more of a burden to us than a benefit. The way to solve this is to ensure 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 fed into the system. Quality is one of the key risks associated with data because if your data is garbage, your decisions will be flawed. Businesses mustn’t just blindly trust their data quality but work with the best data candidates to ensure the data 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, you need to have the right people on board to help you 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. Contact us at our Manchester Office at 0161 416 6633 or Milton Keynes at 0203 800 1222. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.