Data analytics crucial for digital business

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Data analytics represent the future of the digital business, and organisations should embrace the technology to survive.

This was the word from Emile van Bockel, chairman of the BI Competence Forum, in a keynote address during ITWeb Business Intelligence Summit 2015 yesterday in Midrand.

According to Van Bockel, online presence has become a critical aspect for the digital business. "Will you buy a product if you cannot find it online? Now, without analytics, customers won't buy your product."

Thus, he noted, organisations should aim to improve their online presence using social media platforms.

Recent studies show Twitter has over 560 million users; Facebook has over one billion users, and Instagram about 150 million active users, he pointed out.

"Today's world is about sharing everything. With everything getting connected, people are now sharing every aspect of their lives; for example, fitness habits."

In the 1920s, he explained, mechanisation dominated the world and this was replaced by automation in the 1950s, 'informatisation' in the 1990s, and socialisation currently.

"Consumers are always looking to share, compare and measure everything."

This sharing of information is giving rise to big data. Data analytics becomes central if organisations are to harvest the massive amount of information that is being generated, said Van Bockel.

Giving some examples of digital businesses which are thriving on the sharing of information, he cited Airbnb, a Web site for people to rent lodgings. It has over 800 000 listings in 33 000 cities and 192 countries around the globe.

In April 2014, Airbnb received an investment of $450 million from TPG Capital, on a valuation of approximately $10 billion.

Another example is Web-based taxi service, Uber, which Van Bockel said was the world's most valuable start-up as of June 2014. File-sharing service Dropbox is one more case in point, he noted.

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