Despite all we hear about big data, the concept is still a relatively new phenomenon. In fact, a study from IBM earlier this year showed that 90 per cent of the world's data was produced in the last two years. But this hasn't stopped big data getting bigger, in fact, it's grown up so much lately that all kinds of businesses are seeing the benefits of drilling into data for analytical purposes - everyone from the top financial institutions through to fashion outlets and Peruvian fishing collectives. So many, in fact, that they're beginning to move away from having siloed data analysis teams and across to widespread data use.
And the technology behind data analysis is supporting this - aspects such as simple user interfaces and improved visual tools have truly democratised information. Rather than data simply being something for one small group, an IT department or a dedicated 'data scientist' to handle, some enterprises are starting to give everyone across the organisation access to all business data, so each employee is responsible for conducting analysis, drawing their own conclusions and making appropriate use of these insights.
Imagine a world in which you need to get hold of the latest information immediately and it's there - at your fingertips, without you having to go through the IT or data team for access, or for them to get the information for you. Well, it's no longer a ridiculous concept. In fact, we're seeing a number of companies moving to a model where this process for getting the latest insight is fast becoming obsolete.
We call this 'data for all' and it's great! After all, the people who can make the best decisions using your data are those working closely to your various projects or customers. But what will prevalent use of information mean for the future of the enterprise? With all employees equipped with the information they need to improve the business, can we expect an enterprise revolution?
Employees have already shown their entrepreneurial spirit - after all, they spearheaded the consumerisation of IT and BYOD trends. This is how keen they were to be able to carry out their work in the way they wanted. There's little difference with data access. Here too they want to be able to work and learn in an environment that suits them and, with direct access to relevant data, employees will fast become empowered to make everyday decisions themselves.
Once, the CEO was challenged with making decisions presented to him based on the information provided by the CIO, with very little input from the business, but this could all change as a larger number of employees become more confident in their ability to take on the daily decisions. This is no bad thing, after all, when any individual or team can overcome an obstacle of their own accord, it can drastically increase their morale and galvanise them into repeating the action again.
As Forbes argues, analytics technology goes a long way to re-crafting an employee experience - helping them to hone their skills more effectively and make decisions in a faster time frame. I therefore argue that, with more people wanting to take it upon themselves to make decisions, the hierarchy of the business could change, with these 'empowered employees' pushing for even more responsibility on a continuous basis.
Interesting times are set to follow across all enterprises as data becomes available to the masses. If you haven't yet given your employees access to all the relevant information they need to make their own decisions, then I encourage you to do this as soon as possible. Challenge the chain of command and get your staff pushing to get ahead with the insights themselves.