Companies collect oceans of data. In fact, the average enterprise will spend $8 million on big data initiatives and programs in 2014, according to IDG. Yet despite the millions being spent, executives often don’t know which data sets are providing the greatest returns on investment. As inefficient and costly as this seems, sizeable investments are needlessly being made to gather, cleanse, and store data — but it doesn’t have to be that way.
A good starting point for prioritizing which data sets to invest in is to identify the top business challenges your company is trying to address. Ranking the company’s chief business and operational goals can help guide business leaders to the data types that should be used to help these efforts.
Business leaders can evaluate their data investments by using predictive analytics and data discovery tools to identify and determine data sets that are generating the greatest business and operational value. For instance, shipping companies rely extensively on logistics data to track and manage product volumes, on cost per shipment to estimate rates on transportation lanes, and on other information to better manage their supply chains. Shippers spend an average of 12 percent of their revenues on logistics and 39 percent of that figure is devoted to outsourced logistics services, according to a study by Capgemini.
Decision-makers for shipping companies can apply predictive analytics and data discovery tools against logistics data to determine the data sources that are providing the most impactful insights for improving operational efficiency and business performance.
Data discovery tools can reveal that data from a particular third-party logistics provider (Provider A) helped shipping company leaders identify and act on frequent causes of supply-chain disruptions (weather, labor, energy prices, volatility in commodities)—moves that helped the company improve its profit margin by three percent.
By comparison, analysis of data provided by another logistics company (Provider B) reveals that its data had a much smaller impact on operational improvements. Business leaders can then assess whether logistics services from Provider B are worth the investment.