Gartner’s recently released 2010 Hype Cycle refers to data-driven decisions, where companies are now overloaded with digital information.

Take this year as a starting point. The projected amount of digital information created in 2010 will be 1.2 million zettabytes which is equivalent to a full-length episode of TV series “24″ running continuously for 125 million years, according to research from IDC and EMC (see further reading, below).

Such figures are amusing but almost impossible to fully comprehend. And without the means to track, trace and interpret information, the results of such an information explosion for your business could be tremendous.

Gartner’s report concludes that, with the proliferation of mobile devices, collaborative technologies and social media, the quantity and variety of digital data will continue to grow. While managing this information is a challenge, it also presents a remarkable opportunity.

By putting the right foundations in place for managing and analysing your data, your organisation will be more able to make data-driven decisions moving forward.

Business intelligence, for example, can pull together an organisation’s data to provide a single version of the truth, allowing executives to make timely decisions based upon a consistent view of data from across the organisation.

Other corporate performance management tools, such as forecasting and planning software, also help organisations to work smarter whilst aiding decision making. With forecasting and planning, for instance, organisations can plan and model scenarios before making data-driven decisions.

The fast pace of IT development means that the number of data sources is only likely to increase and so it’s key to leverage this data for the benefit of the organisation. Ultimately, successful analytics is about creating an effective partnership between IT and the business; make sure you have the right tools in place to make this happen.