Our world is producing data at an unprecedented rate. More impressive than the simple generation of data is the fact that the data can be stored, accessed, manipulated, analyzed, and applied. With this proliferation of big data comes the ability to use it; any business that fails to take advantage of the plethora of available data is setting itself up to lose out on valuable insights.

Big data are sure to continue to embed themselves into the mainstream protocols of how to conduct business. Innovators will take advantage of novel approaches to data analysis, asking and answering questions that would have previously been unfathomable. As companies gain familiarity with and access to big data in 2014, these are some likely trends that will be evident.

1. MORE OBJECTIVITY, LESS SUBJECTIVITY.

With so much hard data available, making intuitive decisions based on gut feelings will no longer be defendable. Companies will increasingly rely on analytics, using objective data and techniques such as modeling and mathematical equations to drive their decision-making processes. Instincts will no longer be acceptable reasons for making business decisions. Are you currently mining your expense report data, for example, to understand the true cost of sales?

2. PAYING THE PRICE FOR BIG DATA.

Data costs money, whether businesses are setting up complex systems to collect their own raw data, or whether they purchase the information from a third party. They also need to spend time analyzing the data or pay an analytics specialist to do so. Still, these costs are increasingly necessary because skipping the big data or misinterpreting the facts is just like asking to make bad business decisions.

3. ACKNOWLEDGING THE NEED FOR DATA EXPERTS IN THE COMPANY.

With big data playing such an important role in company policies and decisions, companies will need to hire experts who are also insiders. New positions may include the data scientist, chief data officer, chief insights officer and chief analytics officer.

4. BETTER APPS.

More complex apps are constantly being developed and released. The ones designed to manage big data can make the process simpler and allow non-experts to make sense of the numbers. A SaaS-based app like Chrome River ANALYTICS transforms expense spend data into compelling and actionable reports – without the need for intervention from technical staff.

5. UNDERSTANDING OF THE VALUE OF ALL KINDS OF DATA.

The value of internal data, such as company sales or cost of customer acquisition, has always been recognized. With social media, external data now has an unexplored potential to aid in analytics.

6. PRIVACY IS NO JOKE.

Gone are the days when a company could brush aside concerns of privacy and security. In the era of big data, sensitive facts are rampant. If proper measures are not taken, security breaches could easily ruin a company.

If you're using a modern expense management software like Chrome River EXPENSE, you already have access to this expense data across all your departments and divisions. Now what are you going to do with it?

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