The National Retail Federation’s Big Show is upon us once again, and it should come as no surprise that Big Data will be in the spotlight at New York’s Javits Center (in the same manner it has been at CES over the past few days… and the year has only started).
There will be plenty of discussions around the potential of (mostly digital) data to find new customers, build better omnichannel experiences, increase brand loyalty or streamline fulfillment. And surely, a growing pool of case studies will be backing the hype, calling for cautious optimism.
But this is not new. The power of data has been accepted for quite some time.
A game-changing factor could however be making the difference this time around: our newly-discovered ability to build a bridge between the extraordinary abilities of data scientists (empowered by ever-stronger analysis tools) and the daily routines of decision-makers able to react to the resulting insights, ideas or warnings.
After all, as many of us have painfully discovered: Does it even matter that you have finally discovered golden proposals in petabytes of customer data, social media and website activity if you cannot find a tangible expression for them, business-friendly enough to guarantee executive buy-in?
It is not about automation. That other side of data-powered transformation (not requiring human intervention) is already at play all around us and quickly becoming a commodity, pre-built into ecommerce platforms and in-store experiences.
It is not about data visualization either. We have plenty of it already.
It is about truly speaking the language of the company, bringing order and governance to the manner in which priorities are established for the retrieval of data insights and never losing the focus on performance over time.
In other words, it is about finding an analyst-friendly vehicle that adapts to the absolute absence of available CXO time and paves the way for straightforward storytelling.
I believe 2015 is the year when we will start seeing more of the one vehicle I am placing my bets on: An Enterprise Reporting Ecosystem that sits in between the science of big data and the art of decision making.
Not Another Dashboard.