Trends in Data Analytics: Making gold out of your data

The days that the most senior person in the room independently made the decisions, are long gone. Data teaches us how to move forward. At the same time, we’re collecting more and more data to make sure we’re deciding the right direction for our organisations. But how do we store that data? And how do we analyse this data to come to well-founded decisions? This process is constantly in development and subject to change. Here I discuss the essentials to create gold out of your data and to create a competitive advantage for your organisation. 

Just storing data is no longer enough
Data lakes are central locations where you store structured and unstructured data. This could be sales, inventory, web store statistics and infrastructure performance. If you bring all this data together in a centralised location in its native form, it is still not worth anything. Data lakes simply allow searching as-is with minimal start-up time. However, when you’re not careful and you cannot pre-process data lakes, they become data swamps, in which it is difficult to retrieve data. And what do you do with the data that is in the lake? Below I describe how you can use your data to your organisational advantage. 

Hyper Personalisation
Due to the high speed of technological developments, consumers are increasingly expecting highly personalised services based on their individual needs in almost every sector. A superior customer experience is not only expected, it also offers a competitive advantage. And it becomes increasingly important due to globalisation and an abundance of choice for customers. According to a Deloitte reporti, 97 per cent of business leaders acknowledge that customer experience is an integral part of their business strategy. However, many are lacking essential understanding of utilising data to their advantage. 

Hyper personalisation leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and data to deliver relevant content, product and services information to your customers. This way, you can take your marketing a step further. You will be able to comply to your customers’ needs and create a competitive advantage. 

Internet of things 
More and more devices are connected to the Internet.From cars to microwaves, their connection to the Internet allow more features and updates over time. And more devices will be connected to the Internet in the future. This offers possibilities as data is also retrieved from all these machines that are connected. The potential of Internet of Things (IoT) is often discussed in relation to industry. IoT makes it possible to collect and analyse data from sensors on manufacturing equipment, smart meters, delivery trucks and a whole range of other types of machinery.  

The data retrieved from the machines can only be used to one’s benefit. With the use of the data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), you can predict when a machine needs service or replacement, for example. You can also analyse the productivity of your manufacturing company. These are just simple examples of the many options you have with IoT.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Through ML you will be able to predict near-future events with the use of your data. Be it small, like a part in the warehouse running out every third Friday of the month or large like seeing customer ‘migrations’ from one set of products to another. Using predictive analytics will give you an edge. According to new research, Automated ML will surpass $14 billion by 2030. 

Amazon SageMaker, Amazon’s Data Science suite has build in algorithms to get started, even if your company currently does not have any data scientists to get a start with AI/ML.

Data Analytics in the Cloud
The Cloud offers a great selection of analytics services and enable organisations to reinvent their business with data. I will zoom in on the options of Amazon Web Services (AWS), since we are laser focused on AWS at HeleCloud and I am thus specialised in this Cloud specifically. AWS offers one of the greatest selections of analytics services. From data movement, data storage, data lakes, big data analytics and machine learning, AWS offers services that provide great scalability and that are cost-effective.  

AWS & Data Analytics
In this part, I will zoom in to three AWS services: Amazon S3, AWS Glue and Amazon Athena. Because these three tools together can create your first insights using your raw data within 10 minutes.  

Amazon S3 – The unlimited storage where customers can store petabytes worth of objects which Amazon designed to have a ‘durability of 99.999999999% (11 9’s) in a given year.’ 

AWS Glue – Amazon’s serverless Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) solution. Glue can read data from S3 or many types of databases and move (parts of) this data to a new home, while transforming it. This could be removing sensitive data or enriching the data with other data already available to Glue. It does not have to be moved though. Glue can just create a catalog of metadata from the raw data it scanned to make them available to other services within AWS. 

Amazon Athena – A serverless query tool that can search through data in S3 using Structured Query Language(SQL). Putting these three together, Athena can query your (un)structured data in S3 using the metadata from Glue give you insights into your previously untouched raw data with minimal effort. And as these are all ‘serverless’, you will only pay for what you use. 

Going further with Data
Do you want to get started with analysing your data and using it to your organisation’s advantage? Or did you already get started and do you want to take it a step further? At HeleCloud, we are more than happy to help you to continuously innovate to help you scaling your business. Get in touch!