4 steps to getting more from your information

Part of the “Improving information ROI” series

According to a recent study by Forrester, most companies analyze only 12% of the data they have. That means almost 90% of data goes to waste. In the ‘Age of Information’, this seems a significant and systemic flaw. Concurrently, IDC predicts that the collective sum of the world’s data will grow from 33 zettabytes in 2018 to 175 zettabytes by 2025. Organizations are struggling to properly utilize the data that they have now. That’s only going to get more and more challenging over the next few years. 

Simply having information isn’t enough, organizations must have the capacity to draw insights, make informed decisions, and act effectively. With the quantity of raw information set to explode in the next few years and organizations inability to manage their current volume, things need to change.

Here we look at 4 steps organizations need to incorporate into their data management to ensure they’re able to stay abreast of the ever-increasing flow of information, improve their ability to draw actionable insights and maintain their competitive advantage.

1) Refine 

Information for information’s sake is one of the problems with the increasing availability of data. The more available, the more likely it is that incorrect or irrelevant information is being captured. This information overload isn’t a new problem by any means, the phrase was coined by Bertram Gross in the 60’s but the concept has been around for centuries, yet it persists and is only likely to grow. 

How do you ensure that you are only utilizing the information that is pertinent to your organization? You refine it. AI can help. 

You won’t find many industries where AI isn’t mentioned as a disruptive, innovative, and transformative improvement – but this is particularly true in the case of data refinement. Through machine learning, natural language processing, and semantic programming, tools now exist that can refine vast swathes of data easily, leaving you with only the most relevant and important insights. 

Some organizations are taking this a step further, by adding expert human curators into the mix (at InfoDesk we call this semi-supervised AI). The combination of automated analysis across a vast quantity (AI) and the specialized insights of industry experts (Human) gives organizations the capability to overcome information overload without the risk of missing business-critical information.

2) Report

Now that you’ve got the right data, what do you see? Who needs to know it? It’s about presenting the refined data without bias and ensuring that those who need to be made aware of it, are aware of it. A report from EY reveals that whilst 81% of organizations support the notion that data should be at the heart of everything they do, the vast majority continue to keep data in silos.

You need to ensure the information is getting to the right audience. And in a manner that suits their needs. Is this information pertinent to the C-Suite, who are famously short on time and want to consume only the most critical essence of the data? Or, is it meant for your market intelligence team who needs to see the whole picture so that they can begin to draw insights across a wider landscape? These examples portray the importance of reporting not only the right information but also the right information in the right way.

3) Analyze 

This is where raw data and information is turned into true insight. It’s about translating what you see into analysis relevant to your organization and ensuring that the right decisions can be made. 

At this step, don’t be afraid to seek more information. Rather than drawing insights from incomplete data or contrasting sources, seek the information that you need to conduct an accurate analysis. Yes, drawing actionable insights from your information is the basis of this article, but drawing inaccurate or poorly developed insights based on flawed information can be more detrimental than not.

4) Strategize

Strategizing is always the final logical step in information management –  what do you do about what has been uncovered? How do you put the data into action? Extrapolate. Look at the bigger picture. This step provides a filter to ensure you’re not just seeing what you want to see, but what’s actually there.

Similarly, does the intelligent outcome fit within the wider strategy and intent of the organization? Too often organizations will react in an ad hoc way without considering how this ties in with the overall momentum of the company. 

This is the step that makes all the difference. You’ve found the information that matters. You’ve refined, distributed and analyzed it to draw insights in the right places. Now, you turn those insights into successful actions.

Conclusion

Too often, companies focus on information sourcing without considering how best to utilize what is captured. Finding the right information is a critical factor of success in any organization, but ensuring that once it’s been acquired, it is used effectively is just as vital. With information availability increasing, organizations must have both the capacity and process in place, to allow them to accurately draw insights and action these effectively.

To find out how you can harness your information ROI download our whitepaper “Harnessing the power of information” here.