Key (COVID-19 Influenced) Enterprise Data Trends

I will spare you from the everyday spiel on the ever-growing importance and significance of data for any enterprise, assuming that you are well acquainted since you have read beyond the title of this article. I will say this however, over the past couple years the impact of the novel coronavirus has only served as a catalyst towards boosting the volume of digital data generated that has successively led to the amount of added insight that can be driven from it. All this has done is made data as important to organizations as it would have otherwise only been in 2025, in a parallel universe without COVID-19. It is important now, more than ever for organizations to transition from being ‘data compliant’ to ‘data centric’ and ‘data driven’.

Cutting straight to the chase, I will fundamentally categorize my trend projections for enterprise data into three segmented buckets.

  1. Digitized data volumes will peak through the end of this year

Data and analytics representing dashboards are on the way out. Data stories generated via augmented analytics techniques is what the future will need to hold in order to most effectively allow for the transformation and consumption of digitized enterprise (primarily customer) data that has increased twofold in recent months and will continue to do so for the remainder of this year.

Customer behavioral observations ever since March 2020 in the Americas have clearly indicated that a steadily growing population is moving towards e-commerce and shows how that number continues to grow. What started out on the basis of finding an alternate to potentially exposing myself to COVID-19 each time I need to buy a loaf of bread every week has now left me realizing that I may never need to walk into a supermarket just for that loaf again since I know exactly what I want and enjoy the convenience of having it delivered straight to my doorstep at a small premium. Not the same case when it comes to buying gifts for the holidays however as I hope to do a lot more holiday shopping in person than what I could achieve this year. This boost in digitized data generation will hence easily last through the year, marking it as the prime time when organizations must strive to most efficiently leverage this. Before you know it, we will hit the end of the year when I will likely start stepping back out to brick and mortar stores to have a more holistic, interactive and in-person customer experience for a certain category of products and services, hence no longer shelling out as many data points as I would have in the past.

Each time I buy that loaf of bread online, the fact that a 31 year old male living in the Greater New York area who has browsed bread options for 2 minutes 18 seconds and finally bought the Pepperidge Farm (a Campbell Soup Company subsidiary) whole grain sprouted bread at 7:02 PM on a Thursday are just some of the digitized data points that I am referring to. On the other hand, I would not be generating a lot of these data points if I were to walk into a local bakery and pick up a fresh loaf made just yesterday. This at the cost of not seeing an advert on my Instagram feed each Thursday with the bread I now buy. Either way is a win for me as a customer.

  1. Data security vulnerabilities will multiply

‘The new normal’ is a phrase that I inherently find myself not ready to accept owing to the optimist in me. There are however certain aspects of life that we now know are going to continue to be very different right post-COVID. Working from home for many enterprise employees will continue to be a norm. This only means that what used to once be 50 office locations for a Fortune 500 company is now 50,000 home office locations owing to the pandemic. The development of future enterprise data applications (in addition to the current set) will certainly take this into consideration so that the right set of data is made available to the right employees at the right time, all while they sit beside their significant other who works at a competitor firm and is on a business development call while their daughter who just bagged an internship at Facebook is working on user testing.

That is a small ridiculous example of how there could be a lapse in data security however there are a host of more intricate scenarios which can occur that expose an organization’s data or allow it to land up in the wrong hands. While VPNs and remote monitoring software are effective to a certain extent, personal data privacy concerns by employees not comfortable sharing details on every action they perform on their mobile phone that also houses their work email will continue to pose as a challenge. It is hence vital for organizations to design a more robust system to strengthen organizational data security in the current unorthodox environment.

  1. Customer data access expectations will see a steady uptick

In my lifetime, I can confidently say that I will always remember 2021 as the ‘year of the vaccine’. The year over which your not so average Joe takes office that changes the social climate in America overnight. The year that has people re-establishing their appetite for financial risk owing to the relatively more certain times, not forgetting the pre-vaccine lockdown periods that changed the way they live. More people will now be doing their research online before visiting a new country, buying a new car or opening a new bank account than ever before just because of the inherent sense of caution psychologically established in the masses as a result of the impact of the 2019 pandemic.

It is right now that organizations need to start envisioning and planning towards enabling the use of  Artificial Intelligence coupled with Quantum Computing  (beyond the realms of IoT, RPA etc. that they already may be investing in) to harness the volumes of data available and efficiently make available exactly what new customer personas will be looking for.

To staying healthy, in all aspects. Thanks for reading and keep thinking data.

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