Every day, the business world creates more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. In fact, data is doubling in size every two years. This year, experts anticipate 1.7MB of data will be created every minute for every person living on the earth.

While the volume of data is impressive – and growing – collecting big data for data sakes is really not that useful. There is no prize for the company that owns the most data. Rather the real winners are the companies that can turn the endless streams of raw data into actionable insights that can help improve their businesses.

Actionable data
Actionable data is “information that can be acted upon or information that gives enough insight into the future that the actions that should be taken become clear for decision makers.”

In other words, while actionable data is a product of big data, it is not simply information stored in silos across the enterprise. Actionable data is information that has gone through analytics and data processing and is presented in a clear, understandable and often visual way that is useful. It affords the people and companies that use it the ability to recognize mistakes and capitalize on new opportunities, to enhance their performance, and make faster and more informed business decisions.

CIS Wired wrote, “What big data represents is an opportunity; an opportunity for actionable insight, an opportunity to create value, an opportunity to effect relevant and profitable organizational change. The opportunity lies in the which information is integrated, how it is visualized and where actionable insight is extracted.”

In even simpler terms, actionable data is business intelligence.

Using actionable data to gain a competitive advantage

BI is literally the transformation of raw data into actionable insights for your business. In a world that produces trillions of gigabytes of data every day, companies are either drowning in information or they are learning how to use the data to their advantage. It has never been more important for companies to capture, manage and analyze their data to improve their business intelligence. Doing so creates a competitive advantage,  an opportunity to improve customer service, a method to enhance inventory and optimize the supply chain, validation to pursue new markets; and evidence of growth. These are the key elements to becoming a data-driven organization.

Unfortunately, not every business understands how to get from data collection to actionable insights.

Challenges in getting actionable data

So what is really stopping business leaders from connecting the dots between data, analytics and business growth?

Of the CFOs and CIOs from companies surveyed by KPMG (four in 10) blamed their inability to integrate data technology into their existing systems and business models. Eight-five percent said they struggled with “implementing the correct solutions to accurate analyze and interpret their existing data.” They are finding it hard to make decisions with the data they have or how to use the data they collect.

Our customers also tell us  that they  they do not fully understand how data and analysis can transform their business despite knowing  it is crucial to their business. Many of these businesses are collecting information without an understanding of how to use it.  Then they find data analytics and soon learn how to great actionable data.

 A clear and comprehensive picture

This is why BI tools such as Phocas are so important. BI enables you to draw actionable insights from your business information so you can make data-driven decisions. You no longer have to wonder what to do with the data you are collecting. Phocas BI pulls data from across the enterprise into a central location and presents it in a visually compelling way that is easy to understand. You have the ability to drill down to a level of detail that reveals what needs to happen next with a customer, product, region or business. Phocas BI provides a clear and comprehensive picture that helps businesses connect the dots so they can take the necessary steps to grow your business.

To learn more about getting actionable data, download this free eBook: Building the case for data analytics for Executives.

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Tags: Strategy, Management and Performance, Job Role - Executive

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