But in the world of business technology, we still lag someway behind in our thinking. All too often business applications are designed with masses of functionality that are created to justify an expensive upgrade path but result in users only exploiting small percentages of the available functionality
In the world of business intelligence and visualisation, it has never been truer that a picture is worth a thousand words. When used properly, rather than just being an aesthetic adaptation, expressing quantitative data visually can provide a valuable method of extracting meaning and therefore critical business insights from data sets.
What's the best story you've ever been told? What's the best piece of fiction you've ever read? What is it about the memories of those that have made them stick in your mind? Defining what a story is and why they have impact is very difficult. At its heart a story has characters, a narrative, tension, and a resolution. What if you could take the key aspects of storytelling and apply them to data?
The best big data is the data generated as a by-product of operational, customer and supplier processes. The data that people naturally share, and are willing to, in return for a better experience or end product. And the best big data is when it becomes information that is readily analysed by business users for useful insights.
2013 was an eventful year in ERP, with notable positive developments including the increase in mobile and business intelligence (as many predicted twelve months ago) and the increase in adoption of SaaS and cloud solutions. The year saw a number of major ERP implementations, with successes and failures at all levels.
How much data do you see every day? Whether it's wading through lines of numbers on spreadsheets at your office or sitting at home comparing the batting averages of England's cricket team, data has become a staple part of our daily lives. Despite this, very few of us have the tools that permit quick, effective data analysis.
People don't often think of the similarities with the business world when they think of Formula 1, and even less so do they think of big data. And yet, the three are actually very closely linked, with correct use of big data playing just as big a part in the success of a team as it can to the success of a business.
Corporates tend to make and drive decisions only from a "giraffe's perspective", i.e. from the top down. But companies are essentially two kinds of animals foraging together - executives at the top as well as workers at the bottom - and workers should have the ability to influence action based on their unique perspective of happenings "on the ground".
There's a reason why 'Where's Wally' is so effective and enduringly popular. The human brain is evolved to use colour, shapes and patterns as catalysts for cognitive recognition. These originally enabled us to spot threats in the environment; now they enable us to spot trends and sequences in charts more easily.
One of the most common misconceptions in industry today is that data - and in particular, big data - on its own, is capable of driving business value. Look across any sector you care to mention, in any corner of the globe, and you'll find countless 'experts' telling you that their data is the secret ingredient.