Remember when everyone started talking about Big Data? Businesses were excited about all those valuable insights and their potential to transform organizations. Then some businesses realized that between the sophisticated tools required and the operational costs and advanced skill sets involved, creating an infrastructure that could collect, manage and translate data was out of their reach. Big data solutions made big promises, but the very sales teams that needed to harness that power to compete in the big leagues often found that they just couldn’t afford to.
So here’s some good news: that’s all changed. Thanks to recent technical developments, organizations of all sizes and backgrounds can enjoy the benefits of data-driven decision making without a colossal investment in time and resources.
Think back to an earlier time and picture yourself as an enterprise leader looking to capitalize on the Big Data revolution. You probably turned to your analysts, who turned to IT and asked them to create an effective data warehouse. But that was no easy task; between provisioning hardware and integrating tools and adapting the infrastructure, it consumed most of a year. And once it was finally built? Then you needed a team of data scientists to squeeze any actionable insights out of the data you harvested – even for queries that weren’t particularly complex. Then there was the fact that legacy analytic tools were just plain difficult to use and often dependent on on-premise tools.
All of this was enormously inconvenient. Having to rely on the IT department and other middle men, or waiting to arrive at a specific facility to use a tool, just didn’t work in the busy sales world. You and your team needed those tools – and those valuable insights – while on the go, visiting a customer or out the field. In the end, you spent considerable money and time to get results that only highly trained data analysts could understand.
In a world of lightning-fast deals, that kind of laborious process just isn’t tolerable. Which is why it’s great news that we now have technology and tools that are reducing costs and dissolving barriers and IT silos. In short, enterprise data has finally been democratized, with repercussions that are nothing short of transformative for sales teams.
Why the change? One reason is that months-long implementation cycles are in the past. Today’s tools remove that delay and get teams up to speed fast, as needed. But the biggest reason is that data analytics tools are finally designed for the cloud. They’re agile, they’re mobile and they’re built to be used by anyone. As a result, literally billions of rows of data can be digested in real time and turned into clear and actionable information delivered to tablets, laptops and smartphones.
This is real information funneled through a delivery model engineered for the needs of real workers. This is the age of mobile, after all, where we work from homes, offices, airport gates, coffee shops and anywhere else we find ourselves. Deals move fast. So do sales teams. Everyone from C-suite leaders to project managers needs immediate data access wherever and whenever they need it, on whatever device they happen to be using.
Another change is that the data is now comprehensive enough to be accessed and understood by almost anyone, rather than framed in a way only data specialists can understand. Before it took an advanced degree in data science to take the mountains of Big Data and translate them into clear and relevant insights. Now organizations can read data like they’re reading a map, without any kind of expert background.
Ultimately we’re entering a new era of data, one that is transforming businesses. Elevated business intelligence is no longer a lofty height reserved for Fortune 500 titans or sophisticated scientists. Instead workers and professionals of a variety of backgrounds can access analytics in real time and use them to shape new strategies, course-correct mistakes and drive revenue – no middle man required. The entire point of Big Data has always been to give organizations a competitive edge; and with the speed and convenient access of our new tools, that competitive edge is now attainable.