Deloitte has identified four big themes for this year, as businesses and governments exploit data analytics technology.
1. Businesses will be more open with their data.
The trend for governments to be more open with public data will have a knock-on effect on the private sector and encourage rival businesses to share data more collaboratively.
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“If you look at the way government is opening up access to public data, that creates opportunities for growth, not just from the way private sector companies use and sell services on the back of that data, but the way it creates interaction with citizens,” said Harvey Lewis, research director at Deloitte.
For example, train operating companies and road hauliers could share their data in a collaborative way, to help the public plan their travel more effectively and work out the best routes and transport for a particular journey.
2. Privacy and ethics will become an area for debate
The public will start asking more questions about how organisations use their data.
This will put pressure on organisations to justify the benefits of storing and analysing data to their customers.
“Just because an organisation can do something with analytics – combine data, and get a perfect view of a customer – does not mean that it should,” said Lewis.
“There are examples of where analytics can create a worse customer experience. There are questions over some of the things that might be thrust on people as a result of analytics, and whether they are ready to receive them,” he said. “Organisations will have to respond to that.”
3. New business models will emerge
The emergence of data aggregation services, such as websites that compare insurance prices, will change the balance of the relationship between businesses and their customers.
“We will see businesses become more socially connected as a result of analytics. It will put power back in the hands of the consumer, once you get consumers excited and empowered to pull services, rather than have them pushed,” said Lewis.
“The greatest transition will be for organisations that are very traditional, very transaction orientated. It is those traditional organisations that can probably benefit most from data analytics.”
4. Analytics will be used to solve real business problems
Many businesses are jumping on the analytics bandwagon, but are thinking about the technology first, rather than the business issues they want to solve.
This will change during 2012, as organisations adopt a more business-like approach to analytics, Deloitte predicts.
“There is a mindshift that needs to happen to persuade organisations that just applying analytics will not solve their problems. They need a more business-orientated approach,” said Lewis.