In the infancy of the internet, there were hot debates in boardrooms worldwide about whether to invest resources in creating a website. Some early visionaries dreamed that the internet would be a way to share information that would totally transform how businesses operate.

Other opinions saw it as another ‘90s fad that would explode and then go out of style. In 1995, Newsweek infamously published a piece calling the internet “baloney” and pointing out that the “local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire internet handles in a month.”

With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to look back and chuckle at the exaggerations of the internet’s demise, but at the time, these were intelligent people voicing researched opinions on a topic that wasn’t settled.

Data Is The Biggest Opportunity for Businesses

Today’s businesses ponder a similar question with regard to data — should they continue the status quo or invest in new technology that will open up future wins? In the future, we will all look back at companies that decided not to invest in data the same way we look back at that Newsweek piece from 1995.

For a long time, storing large amounts of data was cost prohibitive, but innovations in the last five years have dramatically lowered the price of compute and storage. As a result, the sheer volume of data now being produced and stored presents the biggest opportunity for businesses since the rise of the internet.

Consider the following:

  • 45,000 exabytes of data generated by 2020
  • 1.7 MB of data created per person every second by 2020
  • 1 Billion Trillion digital bits, as many as the stars in the universe
  • 2x growth in data stored every two years

There’s a very easy trend to identify here: data collection and analysis on a large scale is here to stay. It’s not a fad, it’s not going away, and it’s not optional for business success. The sooner your company starts incorporating data into the decision-making process, the better.

The Companies That Win With Data

Think about the companies that are exploding in the current landscape. Organizations like Uber, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix are data companies first and competitors in their individual industries second. They’re treating data as a product and insights found in analysis as a means to fly past their competition. 

These companies aren’t just using data to track results, they’re building models that let them use data to look into the future and make decisions for them. They’re not just dipping their toes into data as a way to influence the business, they’re creating teams to process all that information and giving those data teams the keys to the company.

According to Bain, data-driven companies are:

  • 2X more likely to be in the top quartile of financial performance
  • 5X more likely to make decisions faster than their competition
  • 3X more likely to execute decisions correctly

This strategy of putting the data team at the core of the decision-making process is the only way to come out ahead in today’s data revolution. In the age of large-scale data creation, collection and analysis, your decisions are only as good as your data team. Companies that decide to commit to data too little or too late are setting themselves up for future losses at the hands of more data-mature competitors.

Learn more about the steps your business can take to grow and empower your data team, and the benefits you will realize as result in our new guide, Building & Empowering Your Data Team.