In today’s digital world, everything revolves around data. The world functions because of data and has for decades, decades been the keyword. With advancing years comes innovation, and while there has been plenty of that, we must ask ourselves what data will look like in the future.

Challenges

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The Future of Data

In today’s digital world, everything revolves around data. 

The world functions because of data and has for decades, decades been the keyword. With advancing years comes innovation, and while there has been plenty of that, we must ask ourselves what data will look like in the future.

The new oil 

To many of us, data is simply information; if asked to visualise it computationally, we would most likely say binary, ones and zeros. And to an extent, this is true. Of course, the reality of the matter is considerably more complicated, but the general perception is not incorrect, even simplified to the extreme. Data is more critical in the general running of the world than we think. Clive Humby, the data scientist behind the Tesco Clubcard, said that data is the “new oil”. However, as we have seen with recent events such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal, corporations must ensure they are drilling for it responsibly. Providing this is the case, many believe empowering employees by digitising a company could offer a competitive edge. Notwithstanding these opinions, many CEOs do not feel ready for the new data democracy as they do not trust their staff to make the correct decisions using it. That is not necessarily a question of the integrity of the employees; it also relates to the widespread ignorance of working with statistics. 

Understanding the data

A recent study in the US found that 46% of high-school graduates could not estimate how many times a flipped coin would probably come up heads in 1000 tosses. That reflects a widespread deficiency in data handling skills, a problem that is not conducive to the direction the world is heading. See if you get the correct answer, in case any of you are American. 

Topical

Data is often in the news, usually for the wrong reasons. The future of data is private, which has affected businesses and how they hold crucial customer information. Moreover, small and large companies alike have been plagued with the new GDPR and the administrative nightmare that comes with them. For example, 80% of The Economist’s email list disappeared when GDPR hit. Furthermore, 48% of all e-commerce transactions worldwide are from repeat customers. Thus, the current customer base could be compromised and businesses negatively affected. So, how we handle future data is vital to success across the market. 

The future will likely see less harvested data and focus on refining how information gets used. One adaptation aspect is that companies will have to de-prioritise third-party data and prioritise how first-party data is collected, stored, and used. That is a significant change e, and it is substantial. If done correctly, a new approach could help foster stronger customer relationships and leave businesses in a better position to cope with data protection laws. 

The information gap

One phrase that is ever-increasing in its frequency of mention is the “information gap”, but its true meaning is not necessarily common knowledge. “Imagine you want to make a tool, car, ship, or bridge out of steel, and you’ve got a huge pile of iron ore. You need to refine the ore into iron or steel before making something. That metaphor is incredibly accurate for the world of data,” says Matthew Scullion, founder and CEO of Matillion, a cloud data integration and transformation platform. 

As data becomes more abundant, it becomes impossible to turn it into valuable analytics without refinement, as with oil. 

Said gap is particularly evident in the more significant business where a large amount of valuable data is not yet of use because they are simply unable to tap into it and reap its benefits. 

Why is there such difficulty in making this data usable? 

Making valuable data relies on joining it together and organising it, so it’s neat and aggregated to the right level to make it worthwhile for analytics. But, hundreds or thousands of steps can go from raw material to analytics-ready data. That is not a one-time process. It must be continuous and never-ending, which is a challenging task. So how do we bridge the information gap? 

The answer?

A technology platform capable of facilitating the process that makes raw data useable exists in the form of Matillion. It is a minimal code system, so it is intuitive and consequently can be more easily used and can be used by a much broader spectrum of global businesses. Over 1000 enterprises have begun using the system since its 2015 launch and are among the most valuable start-ups in the UK and Western Europe. 

The future holds many challenges as an industry has to adapt to legislative changes and an increased quantity of data. Despite the difficulties, the world is becoming more data reliant as we migrate to an increasingly digital society. Every online transaction creates data. With every click, you consent to data. 

Information is critical to many business models, and more and more of these companies are relying on data to function in the current market. It will only increase.

Entire marketing strategies use consumer data, and the world would look very different without it. The information gap has resulted in a plethora of data sitting ready to be used, effectively wasting away in an industry that does not know how to deal with it. 

Overall, the future of data is different. More red tape and processing challenges await, but the industry is better equipped to handle it and take us into a new, further digitised age. 

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The Future of Data

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