It’s estimated that the total amount of data in the world doubles every two years and that by 2020, the amount of information in existence will be 45 zettabytes – that’s 45 trillion gigabytes. To put that another way, if all of that information was stored on 128Gb iPads, you would need to build a stack of them reaching from the Earth to the Moon, six times!
Where to begin?
To start making sense of data, housing providers must master the art of data transformation. This is the process of converting a raw data source into a cleansed, validated and ready-to-use form that can deliver timely insights. Appropriately transformed data is accessible, consistent, secure and seen as a trustworthy source by the intended user.
With the ever-growing volume of data available to you, you have a great opportunity to use it to find new business value. Yet harnessing this data requires a conscientious data transformation strategy that orients the data around the needs of your organisation and its users.
Achieving data transformation
To achieve data transformation, you need to have the correct pieces in place and this starts with three things: how you can store your data; how to keep that data secure; and then how to unlock the value of your data with things such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things and business intelligence.
Where and how to store your data
As data growth continues to explode, the complexity and cost to store and manage data is becoming increasingly compounded by cyber threats and the scrutiny of regulators. The key considerations regarding where and how to store your data are:
- Further consolidation of functions;
- Greater simplicity in product design;
- Better data management;
- Leveraging of workflow-enabling technologies;
- Preventative measures;
- ‘Hardening’ of data.
Keeping your data secure
Employees work while they travel, contractors work remotely anywhere in the world and sensitive data can be easily downloaded from the company network. The risks of data loss grow with more and more people working outside your network, yet by following a few examples of best practice you can manage those risks.
You need to address how to best keep your data safe, your business compliant and your end-users productive yet secure by addressing the following criteria:
- Assessing just how secure your data actually is;
- How to build your plan;
- Putting your plan into action.
Unlocking the value of your data
According to Gartner, up to 49 per cent of CIOs are either not interested or have no plans around AI, yet this is expected to change as they see that 20 per cent of the remaining CIOs will have implemented AI into their back office within the next three years.
One exciting aspect about AI is that many AI suppliers already offer solutions to improve business-process tasks commonly delivered by staff within operations or back-office departments. This means looking at the following:
- Virtual assistants;
- Deep learning;
- Machine learning;
- Natural-language processing;
- Robotic process automation, cognitive computing and/or AI tools.
An organisation’s data is now recognised as one its most vital assets. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the importance of data and how it can deliver real business benefits back to your organisation.
Greg Dean is the housing sector sales manager for Phoenix Software.