Data blending helps you make better-informed business decisions

In today’s data-driven world, there’s a recognition that data decisions win. With the constant influx of data comes a flood of new opportunities for improved business insight and intelligence, yet businesses and analytics leaders are being held back in their ability to unlock them.

According to Alteryx research, 72% of business and analytics leaders aren’t satisfied with how long it takes to retrieve the insights they need from data. Nine out of every ten of these dissatisfied leaders point the finger of blame at the inability to efficiently combine data from multiple sources, indicating just how crucial swift data blending is to business analytics, and therefore business decision-making as a whole. With the total volume of digital data globally continuing to double every two years according to IDG, the issue will be compounded for those businesses that don’t act quickly.

Analysts and business leaders are feeling the strain. Rather than enabling and supporting business decision-makers, chronically underserved analysts are becoming a bottleneck, spending their time blending together data from multiple sources, and preparing rather than analysing it.

Businesses need to act now to prepare and equip their entire organisation – not just the IT department – to deliver faster insights and make better-informed decisions. Data blending is the key to this.

Businesses depend on analytics

The prominence of data analytics has rocketed, changing from the pursuit of a few niche specialists into a critical facet for all departments across an organisation. The ability to quickly analyse and act on data it is becoming a fundamental expectation. Previously, these teams would rely on people with in-depth technical expertise to identify, procure and prepare their data, ready for analysis. Yet tools which remove the need for writing code and extensive training are handing analytical capabilities back to line-of-business analysts. Gone are the days of IT experts acting as the gatekeepers to data. Those people with the keenest awareness of a business’s priorities – the analysts themselves – can now be unleashed on the information directly thanks to effective data blending.

Faster insights, bigger impact

Data blending brings together data from multiple sources so it can be combined and effectively analysed as a whole. Analysts can then create a dataset aimed at answering a specific business question. Crucially, only the relevant data is merged and analysed, and the process is managed by business analysts rather than technical experts, providing them with a richer, clearer, more rounded business picture.

According to Alteryx’s research, not having the right data at the right time is costing businesses dearly, resulting in missed sales opportunities according to 37 per cent of business leaders, reduced ROI (25 per cent), increased costs (18 per cent) and losing out to competitors (9 per cent). Profit opportunities are being missed and this should be a rallying cry for business leaders to empower their analysts to deliver insight faster. Removing the need for a technical expert as a ‘data intermediary’ enables this by allowing analysts to interrogate information directly. Analysts and business leaders with access to the right data, at the right time, can make swift and effective choices that ensure their organisation is competitive, efficient, and effective.

Unlocking business possibilities

Greater volumes and types of data are becoming necessary for analysts to make critical decisions. The ability to blend information from data centres, cloud apps, and even Excel spreadsheets to gather insight is now more important than ever. Leaders must free their analysts with the proper tools and processes to deliver insights in minutes or hours, rather than the days or even weeks that data blending has traditionally taken. This will unleash a company’s analysts to achieve ever-greater things, while reducing the burden on the technical team and unlocking business possibilities that would otherwise have lain unnoticed.

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