There is no denying that big data and analytics are now well-established and vital components of modern business and the IT systems that power today’s organizations. Although the big data trend has abated, the reason to collect all that data and perform analytics on it in order to see the business has become a constant in most organizations.
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Analysts estimate that the amount of data we use and manage is doubling annually, and performing analyzes on that data can reveal hitherto unknown insights that lead to competitive advantage. Furthermore, the big data used to run analytics is being adapted for use by artificial intelligence and machine learning software that will further improve the return on our computing investment by automating processes and tasks, thus increasing productivity and operational efficiencies.
Types of analytics
Before moving on to a discussion of trends, let us briefly examine the four types of analytics: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and didactic.
- Metadata analyzes focus on what actually happened.
- Diagnostic analyzes focus on understanding why things happen.
- Predictive analytics focus on what might happen next.
- Meta-analytics tries to tell us what needs to happen next.
They are all important and growing within organizations today. However, there are clear trends that resonate with today’s current analytics efforts.
Key Trends in Analytics Today
The continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
Any discussion of the current state of analytics must begin with the way the pandemic has dramatically changed many aspects of not only business but daily life around the world. The disruption to business-as-usual imposed on organizations as health care and government officials have attempted to slow the spread of COVID-19 has caused many significant, and potentially permanent, changes to the way we operate.
The impact of the pandemic has been to accelerate the need for digital transformation. Enhanced data analytics is one aspect of this.
Social distancing and work from home (WFH) efforts have promoted the idea of ”distributing everything” – data, devices, people. Organizations have had to adapt to this distribution and are aided by data analytics.
With WFH’s workforce, HR analytics can be an important tool for monitoring the health of both companies and employees. Analytics can be used to increase setup effectiveness, employee engagement, morale, and productivity. Of course, this type of data must be anonymized to protect the privacy of individual employees before it is shared within the company.
Analytics have also played a role in understanding and interacting with the COVID pandemic. Organizations that have adopted analytics to monitor consumer spending data, along with other data (such as vaccination rates, COVID hospitalizations, and government rules), are better prepared to survive an ongoing pandemic. By identifying trends and predicting changes in upcoming economic patterns, companies can make better decisions about staffing, supply chain management, warehousing, etc.
Most consumers are unable to predict their own behavioral changes, but data analytics can examine multiple types of data and deploy models to predict changing consumer activities. This could have a far-reaching impact on the economy as companies need to remain smart to respond to the complexities of the health crisis caused by COVID and its variants.