The total amount of data created and consumed globally is projected to grow to more than 180 zettabytes by 2025, almost three times the 64 zettabytes of 2020. This makes data the cornerstone of any successful business in a digitally-transformed world. Several trends will help guide organisations on their path to becoming more data-driven.

“Increasingly, data science and analytics will be an integral component of organisational procedures in 2023 and beyond. However, the key to success will be in unlocking the potential of the data available to companies, regardless of industry sector or organisational size,” says Andreas Bartsch, Head of Innovation and Services at PBT Group.

Data Democratisation. Organisations have long acknowledged the importance of data and analytics in their quest to increase revenue, reduce expenses, and continuously optimise operational efficiencies. It has now also been recognised that to best achieve this, all employees must have access to appropriate insights in their day-to-day roles.

“Whilst monthly or weekly reporting to managers and executives is still relevant, employees must be empowered by information on a near real-time basis. This will equip them with the insights necessary to become more independent and less reliant on other team members for guidance,” according to Bartsch.

Artificial Intelligence. AI has become part of our lives even though remaining largely unnoticed. Through advanced algorithms and supporting technology, its utilisation will continue to have a significant impact. Improved client interaction, the reduction of manual processes, proactive maintenance, and even communication in human language, complemented by the processing of visual information, are just some examples of AI applications.

Cloud and Data-as-a-Service. Although many organisations have ventured into the cloud, the associated complexities, multitude of technologies, and challenges related to unpredictable costs have not been fully grasped.

“Whilst the benefits of the cloud cannot be argued, there are still many uncertainties when it comes to optimal utilisation of the services, technologies, and cost-efficient management thereof. The Data-as-a-Service concept also touches on the issue of data monetisation – the act of generating measurable economic benefits from available data sources. Data and its associated insights can augment any organisation’s existing data assets. However, for this to work, it must be driven from the top down and permeate all aspects of the business,” says Bartsch.

Real-Time Data. The need for real-time data, or more realistically, near real-time data, has been clearly expressed in the data strategies of numerous organisations. With the mentioned impact of AI, the latter will increase the pressure on having access to up-to-date data, especially given the huge volumes of data at a company’s disposal.

“Notwithstanding the many use cases where ‘real-time’ data is critical, it must be considered that the latter usually comes at a price tag. It is therefore important that the organisation has evaluated the business case, and most importantly, has the supporting processes in place to react to and act on near real-time data. By doing so, the company can ensure it gets the most benefit from the advanced data analytical capabilities put into place,” Bartsch says.

Data Governance and Regulation. The matter of data governance has been on the agendas of many organisations for several years. Unfortunately, although the intentions and objectives are unanimously agreed upon, the execution of establishing the supporting structures and processes have been lacking. As data volumes exponentially increase and data strategies receive executive attention, it has become non-negotiable to simply get this right.

“This is further emphasised by the complexities introduced through regulatory compliance ultimatums posed by governments across the globe. However, this provides an opportunity to address the data ownership challenge – using ‘data governance’ as a driver to establish the necessary ownership structure can address both challenges and will contribute to a data-driven culture. If anything, the complexity of the regulatory environment provides a framework in which the business can operate to get the most value from its information,” adds Bartsch.

Shifting momentum

Other technology-related trends to consider include the metaverse, advanced blockchain applications, the data fabric, and being closer to the edge through the Internet of Things (IoT). But before this can come into play, data must be captured and analysed correctly. Next year will very much be about getting the basics right.

“Even though companies will increasingly look to appoint data scientists, the role of the data engineer will remain hugely in demand as an enabler of all these trends,” concludes Bartsch.


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