It’s undeniable, big data is everywhere and is being generated by everything around us at all times. It’s changing the way organizations operate and changing how people work. Now more than ever business and IT leaders are forced to work together to realize value and find new use for the data being collected. Take your business for example. You’re collecting an unprecedented amount of data on a daily basis, both structured and unstructured, from a variety of sources including the cloud, mobile devices and social media channels. However, the majority of this information is being left unused.

Many IT and business leaders would agree that collecting that data isn’t the hard part, it’s what to do with it all that is the challenge. There is a lot of hype around the enormous benefits of collecting and mashing up data gathered from various sources. However very few business leaders have any idea what value can be derived, leaving IT teams in the dark about what to do with all of the data they’re collecting.

We live in a world that demands agility and adaptability in order to stay afloat, which is why this data is so important. To remain competitive businesses need access to the right information at the right time to make smart decisions quickly. There is opportunity in big data, you just have to be willing to invest a bit of time into understanding the terabytes of data you’re collecting.

Make it Usable

As we receive more and more data, we need to move beyond simply counting things to really understanding them. You need the right tools to make sense of the overwhelming amount of data. A bunch of numbers won’t mean much to anyone. You need a tool that transforms the buckets of data you’ve stored into valuable, usable information. The data itself is great but it’s the ability to manipulate the data, compare and analyze it that will bring the most value to your business.

Make it Accessible

If you’ve started to dig into big data you probably realized quickly how difficult it is to define what you want from the massive amounts of unstructured and structured data you’ve collected. That’s why you need to empower the decision makers with access to the data as they need. They know the right questions to ask and what areas of the business needs answers. By giving them the power to run analyses and transform raw data to insights and action using familiar tools they’ll be able to retrieve the information they need when they need it. A self-serve approach will also reduce reliance on IT and demonstrate business value.

One of Microsoft’s latest Business Intelligence (BI) products, Power BI, integrates a number of components to offer a complete BI tool set. The set is designed to equip users with the tools necessary to start drawing insights from data on their own. One powerful component is Power Pivot. It allows users to access and combine data from virtually any source to create powerful reports. While components such as Power View and Power Map allow users to manipulate, visualize and model that data. Microsoft’s Power Query for Excel is an add-in that enables self-service data discovery, query, transformation and mash up experiences for information workers. Working with these powerful tools within Excel provides a familiar user experience while reducing expensive licensing barriers.

We are now able to collect and process data at lightning speed which means we have the potential to make bad decisions far more quickly and efficiently and with far greater impact than we have in the past. By equipping your business with these tools you’ll be able to make smarter decisions and begin effectively managing the overwhelming amount of data you’re collecting. Contact today to learn more about how we can help you can start capitalizing on your data!