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Regardless of which industry you work in, the chances are high that you’ve heard about Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Characterised by how technology is blurring the lines between digital, physical and biological spaces, 4IR also means a focus on machine learning and big data.
This is why companies, such as Cape Town-based machine-learning startup DataProphet – which recently made international headlines as the only African company to be named as an emerging tech firm by the World Economic Forum (WEF) – are helping to rethink these concepts across every industry. Data is key for 4IR and, according to SAS Africa, data mining helps increase revenues, cut costs, reduce risks, and improve customer relations.
Even if your business is fairly small, data provides you with valuable insights into understanding your audience or consumers and their preferences. The term “big data” refers to the processes and tools that manage and use large sets of data, says Simplilearn. This means using analytics and mathematics to help make sense of data. While machines can process large chunks of numbers, we still need people to help make sense of the data collected. Actionable insights are everything!
Therefore, smaller companies can also benefit from data, especially when it comes to their finances. Here are three ways to start using data in your organisation and the key skills needed to ensure the data is working for you.
More and more companies have realised that data can be monetised to boost profit margins or even create new income streams. Responsibly harvested customer data – with your clients’ full knowledge and consent, of course – is one of the best ways for customer-centric businesses to assess what their clients want more of and provide new-and-improved products accordingly.
Using technology to simplify your operations to be more efficient is nothing new. With data to back up your operational plan, however, your organisation will reduce costs and find new ways of doing things that will not take up a lot of your employees’ time. Perhaps you could introduce chatbots to answer common employee questions and free up your HR staff, suggests Bernard Marr, or start using Google Drive to manage your production workflow and keep track of data.
Once you’ve implemented big data in your organisation, you’ll be able to plan for internal threats before they take place, says Towards Data Science. With this type of information, your organisation will be more equipped to keep sensitive information safe and take appropriate measures to protect it. While regularly scanning social media feeds and newspaper reports will help with this type of predictive analysis, you will also need to ensure that you and your employees are able to use mathematical techniques to calculate data and implement it in the real world.
We offer managers the opportunity to learn about mathematical techniques to collect and organise data, calculate and represent data, and apply mathematical analysis to economic relationships with our Decipher Financial Codes microlearning online course. The course also gives you six credits towards our 7-week Managing Finances short online course, which provides a broader overview of finances within organisations.