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Traditional Solutions: Left Behind?

Friday 5 August 2016

As the world grinds to a standstill with fully grown adults catching virtual monsters from a twenty year old Gameboy game, many missed a big piece of news – another technology has bid farewell and joined the Dodo in the land of extinction. Last week, the world was faced with the death of the VCR.

Of course, it may be more shocking to some that this technology was still being produced at all, with the DVD technology that replaced it being superseded by Blu-Ray over ten years ago. Now 4K Blu-Ray technology is set to become the standard, HD does not cut the mustard – it is all about UHD or 4K, allowing consumers to re-purchase the films for slight upgrades yet again.

For technology, there is not an exact science that guarantees longevity. The renaissance of vinyl sales in the UK speaks volumes, with music on vinyl generating more income for UK artists than YouTube last year. While fully analogue, meticulously mastered recordings reproduced on high-end equipment have the potential to sound far better than a dynamically compressed digital release, many artists today record in fully digital studios and findings point to a consumer base that do not play to the albums they are buying. With consumers buying the same dynamically-limited digital track found on a CD pressed onto a vinyl they will not play, the reasoning behind the purchase is questionable at best.

The point is that for technology, even when there are far more convenient, modern approaches, the previously existing technologies continue to co-exist despite the advancements made. For some the reason can be cost, for others the reasoning is as useless as the shrink-wrapped vinyl dying to be played.

For the analytical landscape, the decision to update from a ‘traditional’ solution to leverage the data available in business should be an easy decision, as the growth of data shows no signs of slowing. This has found to be relevant for companies of all sizes, with a modern approach to data analytics offering a real competitive advantage.

However, findings are uncovering a continuous trend that undermines the opportunities afforded by the ‘big data’ revolution. One study in particular found that while 75% of business leaders claimed to be making use of data available, only 4% are ‘set up for success’ – highlighting the necessity of a well-founded business plan to tackle and understand the profound impact that data analytics can provide.

Challenging the traditional notions of BI is a must for companies to not only understand the data available, but leverage it for decision making. Reports based on pre-aggregated, transactional data from limited sources will only present an incomplete, retrospective picture of part of the truth – why make decisions without all of the information?

This is where technology advancements provide a huge increase in functionality. Search-powered analytics provides not only a faster, more up-to-date view of the available data, but does so without limiting what is analysed and who can use it. Coupled with advances in user-interaction, such as Natural Language Understanding (NLU), the previously daunting amount of data becomes both easy to navigate and manageable in all areas of a fully optimised workflow.

So when evaluating a solution, ensure that is up to the task of utilising the huge volumes of data that make up the modern analytical landscape, or risk getting left behind. The VCR held on for far longer than many thought possible, but that did not make it the most modern, viable medium in the long-run.

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