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Data: why should businesses invest in the new currency?

Ian Belton, Sales Director Analytics EMEA, Tech Data looks at why data is so important and the reasons why money should be spent on looking after it

Data is, and will continue to be, at the core of our digital world. Considering data as a currency not only validates the importance of data, but demonstrates that it can be applied much more intelligently to business strategy. Actionable insights from unified data are key for advancing digital experiences and improving business decisions. However, critical data is often found outside of a company’s firewall or sometimes lost within an organization’s internal silos. It’s as though someone inherited a large fortune, but lack the knowledge needed to access or use it. Now let’s imagine weather data. It may be one of the biggest contributors to this fortune, but it is waiting for more people to put it to good use.

How’s the weather? It isn’t just small talk, it is essential for making smarter business decisions

Weather impacts everything! It’s not just how we get dressed in the morning or how we plan our weekends. It affects every industry and business, yet most companies don't have a strategy for how to leverage weather data to make cognitive-driven decisions. This raises the question, “Is it because the extent of weather’s impact, or is it the lack of knowledge regarding available data and its application? Let’s see if we can shed some light on these questions with some use cases of weather data in vertical application.

Retail is a highly competitive industry where seasonal, geographical and/or historical weather data feeds significantly impact advertising, supply and demand planning and overall business strategy for targeted markets. From influencing product mix, to driving retail traffic and staffing decisions, understanding the impact weather has on retail sales is a true competitive advantage. Insurance companies have been able to reduce customer claims by 52% using weather based communications to help prevent damage and mitigate risk for their customers. Receiving a proactive weather alert from an insurance company not only benefits consumers, but also improves the customer experience which ultimately drives profit.

Life Sciences and Government rely on weather data feeds to secure the health and safety of the population. By understanding conditions such as heat index and pollen counts, the health industry can help measure the demand for many pharmaceuticals. As for weather safety concerns, first responders and health officials need to prepare resources and ensure operations are functioning properly for quick response. Any data that improves health and safety is priceless.

As you can see, weather does not happen around us, but to us. Companies who fail to leverage weather data are missing out on lucrative opportunities to improve their bottom line, proactively secure relevance in the marketplace, as well as enrich their customer experience.

Come rain or shine, the real story is data

Within the last year, major vendors IBM and Microsoft have seized the benefits of leveraging third party data sources by purchasing the Weather Company and LinkedIn, respectively. Both vendors had similar intentions that drove this strategy. IBM didn’t purchase the Weather Company to get into the weather business, but to advance the decision-making business (analytics). Microsoft didn’t buy LinkedIn for networking opportunities, but for the data. Data is the “natural” resource. It would be wise for solution providers to follow these vendors’ lead. There are many profitable benefits to offering clients third party data sources to improve their business decisions.

Companies are getting a better grasp of understanding their internal data, but are just scratching the surface when it comes to figuring out how to leverage external data sources. Channel partners can increase their market share by extending existing data analytic solutions with curated, precise third-party data. Tech Data Advanced Solutions is uniquely positioned to add value to the channel by aggregating and integrating various data sources, including weather data. Tech Data combines third party data sources with services to help partners understand how to monetize data both for themselves and their customers.

Data is the new currency or natural resource, and is primed for investors like you. This is an opportunity for solution providers, specifically those who focus on data analytic and IOT solutions, to accelerate their market share and unlock the possibilities of this “new currency”.

Ian Belton, is sales director analytics EMEA at Tech Data

 

This was last published in April 2018

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