The Era of Data Discovery is Dawning

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As businesses produce more and more data and a mountain of documents, they’ll need to learn to analyze, manage, manipulate and monetize all of that knowledge.

Now, technical help is on the way. IT operations guru Tony Lock writes in that technology is finally enabling explorative data analysis and the visualization of information in useful ways: “We are at the start of an era when finding data, and using human insight to turn it into valuable information on demand, should become routine.”

Lock writes that firms are starting to undertake a process of data discovery to better manage their content and information. That now includes not just the files that they are legally required by regulators to monitor, but also other files that until recently were effectively lost from analysis because of the random ways that staff have filed them across disparate systems.

Regulations such as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation — which comes into effect in May with the goal of strengthening data protection for individuals — is prompting a growing number of companies to look more deeply into how they manage information throughout their businesses to maximize its value, Lock says.

Data produced by businesses is growing at an incredible pace: Today, the world produces 2.5 quintillion bytes every day, and 90% of all existing data was created in the last two years. As businesses seek new ways to manage all these files and figure out ways to profit from all that information, Gartner estimates that global revenues from the business intelligence (BI) and analytics software will grow to $22.8 billion by 2020.

Why do businesses need to manipulate their data? BI Survey explains: “Data is commonly seen as the oil of the future providing high value for innovation and success. This new data-driven approach aims to go beyond mere reporting and monitoring of the organization’s performance, which has been the core of traditional BI initiatives. The goal is to exploit the full value of data to not only improve decision-making but to directly impact the optimization of business processes and to fuel new business models.”

Getting the most from data requires software that is easy to use, provides visual dashboards, is agile and flexible, produces insights faster and can handle a large (and growing) amount of data. As a growing number of tools are capable of doing all those things, Lock writes, “The age of enterprise-wide information management may finally be dawning.”

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