“It’s a question of operational intelligence, really,” said Ryan.
Ryan said what while big data will prove transformative for business it will do so only if it is linked to actual business processes.
In other words, while data might be kept in the cloud, feet should remain planted on terra firma. “You need to think about it mostly in terms of strategic aims,” he said.
Different industries have so far taken different approaches to data, he said, often reflecting long-standing cultural issues, not to mention compliance and regulation.
“There really are two ends of a spectrum,” he said.
“On the one hand, retail is [already] using data for revenue and profit generation, whereas, for example, the banking industry — outside of the fintechs — would be quite conservative.
“They work mostly within their own private spaces, innovation centres, and so on.”
Ryan also spoke about newer, better KPIs develop as a result of using big data. “When you get involved in analytics, there is no confusion about what KPIs mean. The traditional way is often too slow and people want the information in real time or near real time.
“What tends to happens, organically, after a couple of months is that the KPIs can take shape following the data that is being collected.”
The other side of the story, however, is that radical changes to expectations can leave staff feeling abused.
“There is [now] a paradox in management,” said Ryan. “[It is essential that] education goes along with the technology. You could be using to the KPIs that could be wrong, something that might become clearer when you get the real data in. That’s an educational process that they have to go through,” he added.
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