In the world of data, there are no pre-written storylines or railroad tracks to insight. Instead, in our current age of data abundance, organizations are able to choose their own adventure when determining how they want to engage with their data. In this regard, there is a lot organizations can learn from looking at how open world games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, Skyrim, and Minecraft, take advantage of endless opportunities. These games offer a ceaseless supply of entertainment as users can explore an ever-expansive planet with countless quests, objectives, and tasks to keep themselves busy. What if we apply the open world creative mindset to business analytics?
We exist at the dawn of the metaverse: an open, digital world with unlimited potential. Organizations now hold the entire universe—or metaverse—of information at hand, yet few have realized its full impact. Modern technologies that manage big data are enabling organizations to reimagine how they conduct their analytics, empowering them to roam their universe of data at will.
Exploring the Open World of Enterprise Analytics
Approaching analytics with an open world mindset widens the horizons of the information we can analyze and the questions we can ask. The largest untapped frontier is unstructured data, the information created by humans for humans. Organizations currently have mountains of unstructured data in the form of emails, files, collaboration platforms, and other textual sources that reveal the human side of the enterprise.
What is most exciting about unstructured analytics is that it is not confined by traditional analytic processes. The data is available, it is up to you to explore it. If you are curious about how employees feel about a new work-from-home policy, filter it by references to the policy; if you are curious about employee burnout, look for after-hours communications, the sentiment around the company, and other warning signs. Your workforce’s opinions, potential, and feelings are all recorded and encapsulated in the work product they generate—you need only to look for it.
Much like an open world game, there are infinite paths that an organization can follow in which all roads—while leading to different outcomes—will increase your overall experience and knowledge of the terrain. You will also find that over time that new roads will naturally crop up as the workforce continues to generate copious amounts of data that speak to problems that have yet to be identified.
Dealing with Data Glut
The biggest hurdle organizations will have to overcome to get the most out of their enterprise analytics explorations is learning how to navigate their big data. Big data has the potential to deliver insights at a massive scale; however, without dedicated information management, big data can clog the arteries of analytics with too much information.
Just as you cannot explore the world all at once, you cannot analyze the universe of data in a single go. For the results of an analytics project to be meaningful, there has to be careful attention to the data entered into the system. Due to the sheer volume of big data, it is near impossible to sufficiently wrangle and clean this data by hand.
For enterprises to receive value from their big data, they need big governance too. They require the technical infrastructure and data control to know exactly what information they have, filter it down to relevant samples, scrub it of sensitive information, and export it in a usable format. Without this investment in data management, the process of analyzing big data is often too laborious to have a positive return.
That said, the intelligence and insights gleaned by exploring enterprise data are invaluable and difficult—if not impossible—to obtain through other means. The silver lining is that the new technologies are being developed to assist organizations govern, prepare, and analyze their universe of data.