2011: the age of information enlightenment

Businesses will adopt a new approach to information management to engage employees in the decision-making process in 2011. I predict 2011 will be “the age of information enlightenment”. My three main predictions are:

  1.  Empowerment through self-service business intelligence (BI) 

For many years, BI has provided access to first class reporting capabilities and visibility into critical decision-making. However, only senior financial executives and board members have benefited from this knowledge. In 2011, we will see a radical cultural shift, as BI capabilities are rolled-out to all levels of the organisation and beyond the firewall to customers and suppliers.

For example, in the energy and utilities sector, providers like Scottish and Southern Energy are already beginning to offer customers real-time insight into energy usage through easy-access graphs and charts providing detailed breakdowns into billing and consumption data. This extended use of self-service BI will have a huge impact on the way organisations share information.

  1.  Predictive analytics for smarter decisions

Making the correct near and long-term decisions is critical for all organisations this year. To do this, businesses need to harness historical data and scenario planning capabilities through analytics in order for managers to make more informed choices.

I have already seen some exciting applications of this technology. Some police forces are already using analytics for crime mapping and helping to target areas most likely to attract trouble. The City of Richmond, Virginia Police Department have cut crime by 49 per cent by implementing predictive analytics.

By collecting previous crime statistics and external factors such as weather, time of day and day of the week, officers can estimate when and where crimes might occur. These predictive capabilities allow in-depth analysis to forge accurate and informed decisions for the short and long-term.

  1.  Clean data for a 360-degree view 

Businesses cannot afford to deal with the proliferation of poor quality data. Problems need to be identified and corrected before data enters multiple systems and departments. Data cleansing and management enables companies to address problems before the operational and financial consequences are felt.

The challenging economic climate has forced many businesses to take a different approach to creating competitive advantage. Many have seen that cleaning up data reduces not only risk and cost, but also provides a competitive edge by providing a ‘single version of the truth.’

No company can afford to make the wrong decision because of dirty or duplicate data. As a result, 2011 will see a fresh approach taken to data management as organisations begin to integrate siloed information and tidy up error-prone data so they can make decisions on trustworthy information.