The modern world runs on data. It is the most significant and valuable commodity on Earth, and is the reason Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Google are worth hundreds of billions of dollars. The core business of these and other tech titans is amassing and consolidating data that can then be sold for use by other companies such as advertisers. Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion isn’t merely a play for grocery dollars. It offers the online company a brick-and-mortar presence in which it can explore retail analytics, customer traffic management, and other data driven experiments to gain insights into in-store consumer behavior that can be transferred to online applications.[1]

While data is at the heart of business and technology, many organizations are unable to leverage these silos of wealth and make them useful, due to challenges in consolidating and sharing the information. Unlocking the power of data is key to creating a competitive advantage and the reason for the rise of chief data officers within organizations. A Fortune 1000 company is estimated to generate more than $65 million in additional net income through a mere 10% increase in data accessibility. For retailers, big data has the power to increase the operating margins by as much as 60%. Currently, less than 0.5% of all data is ever analyzed and used, leaving a lot of money on the table. It’s no wonder that last year 73% of organizations either had invested in or had plans to invest big data.[2]

Achieving real-time data access and figuring out how to derive value from it is a major consideration for organizations in any industry. Most businesses understand that data can enhance productivity and efficiency, while cutting costs to boost the bottom line. It can also be used to gain actionable insight into consumer behavior and improve the customer experience.[3] The lifespan of a Fortune 500 company is shrinking, and those unable to harness data to their advantage will find themselves losing the battle against data savvy competitors who have harnessed its power to their advantage.

The future success of an organization rests in its ability to consolidate information and share it across the business in real-time for maximum impact. Connecting people with data isn’t a nice idea it is a business imperative. From customers to employees to visitors to partners, access to relevant real-time information will have a bigger impact than perhaps even the data itself!