If your organization is like most, you already have “big data” — a seemingly bottomless pit of documents, spreadsheets, emails, web-traffic reports, social media interactions and more. When left unorganized, it’s not terribly valuable to you or to anyone else in your business. The key to creating valuable, actionable information lies in how you integrate, analyze and interpret that data.

According to an article on CFO.com, you can think of “big data” as information that’s simply too abundant, complicated and variable for an organization to manage with ordinary database tools. That’s why a cloud-based analytics platform is ideal for such tasks. Instead of purchasing, installing and maintaining advanced hardware and software, you can use the cloud to make data readily available to your organization while handling the data’s storage, processing and security.

A robust analytics platform can unlock the potential value of your data, resulting in many benefits.

  1. Improved decision-making. Managers can use analytics to generate business expense reports that support fast, effective decision-making and smooth daily operations. For best results, the software should be intuitive enough that users can generate even the most detailed reports and analyses on their own, without help from technical staff.
  2. Improved risk management. By offering improved transparency into spending, from global trends to transaction-level detail, business users can better identify and manage such risks as regulatory compliance and expense report fraud.
  3. New business opportunities. Your data may be more valuable to a third party than your own organization, the CFO.com article suggests. After your customer data has been made anonymous and analyzed, for example, it could be sold or licensed to non-competing businesses and groups.

To reap the benefits of the “big data” it already owns, an organization needs to understand which types of information are valuable for its situation and acquire the analytics tools to transform its raw data into information assets. One place to start might be mining your company's expense reports to learn the true cost of sales.

We’d love to hear from you. What obstacles have you seen organizations encounter when they try to unlock the potential value of their data?


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