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What is Data Analytics and Big Data?
Data Analytics and Big Data Explained

What is Data Analytics and Big Data and why are the major ITC players going to Ireland to work on them?

The amount of data that industries of all types rely on to inform their strategic decisions and operations is increasing at an exponential rate. The result of this reality is that information—how it is collected, analyzed, and communicated—now drives the competitive advantage, and with the most critical factor in a company’s success being how effectively it carves out its individual competitive advantage, information has now become the world’s “reserve currency” of organizational success. In today’s business landscape, organizations that are the most effective at capturing and handling the data they collect about their customers, suppliers, and operations are proving to be the most competitive and, therefore, the most successful, and Ireland is the location where many of them are creating their success.

The importance of data to business success is not a new revelation to today’s companies, but what is new and continues to emerge is the amount, detail, and complexity of the data available to organizations.

But much like the value of oil can’t be unlocked until it is properly found, extracted, refined, and distributed, the value of data can’t be fully realized until it is properly collected, analysed, and communicated.

Big Data is the oil, and it comes in a wide variety of flavours (transactional records, unstructured text, Internet clicks, RFID, geospatial GPS signals, digital multimedia, etc.) from several types of wells (customers, suppliers, operations, sensors, social networks, public data, multimedia, etc.)

Data analytics is the process by which collected data becomes a valuable resource to an organization. The success of a company’s data analytics operations depends equally on the quality of the raw data, the information technology that processes it, and the human ability to extract patterns, outliers, relationships, and other insights from that data.

According to the MIT Sloan School of Management, today’s top performing companies employ data analytics five times more than their lower-performing peers. In addition, firms that invest heavily into developing advanced analytical capabilities outperform the S&P 500 by 64 percent, and they’re able to recover quicker from economic downturns (Accenture research, 2011).

The right set of advanced analytical capabilities for individual companies are as unique as the companies themselves. In this world, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why firms like Accenture, Aon, Fidelity, IBM, HP, Cisco and many more of the Fortune 500 have invested in data analytics research and development centres. In many respects, the decisions, processes, and directions that emerge from the work being done at these facilities will determine these, and many more, companies’ futures. And there are several good reasons why these very same aforementioned companies have chosen to establish their data analytics R&D centres in the Republic of Ireland…

The biggest reason is perhaps the quantity and quality of talent available in Ireland to fuel this extremely important work. Ireland is a land defined by a workforce characterized by sheer determination and growing, vibrant ambition. Its youthful, highly educated workforce has seized the opportunity to transform itself into the engine of a dynamic, knowledge-based economy that is becoming an important global leader of the 21st century. According to the IMD World Competitiveness Handbook, Ireland boasts the highest number of workers in the EU who have completed a third level of education along with the highest availability of skilled labour, according to the IMD World Competitiveness Handbook, 2011.

Many multinational corporations that originally located in Ireland because of attractive corporate tax rates and a pro-business environment have since expanded their activities because of the skilled workforce that is known for its excellent technical, language and customer services capabilities, as well as a reputation for flexibility and innovation.

If companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon (and many others) have gone all-in with data analytics in Ireland, maybe yours should, too.

Retail Promotions, replenishment, shelf management, demand forecasting, inventory replenishment, price and merchandising optimization
Manufacturing Supply chain optimization, demand forecasting, inventory replenishment, warranty analysis, product customization, new product development
Financial services Credit scoring, fraud detection, pricing, underwriting, claims, customer profitability
Transportation Scheduling, routing, yield management
Healthcare Drug interaction, preliminary diagnosis, disease management
Hospitality Pricing, customer loyalty, yield management
Energy Trading, supply, demand forecasting, compliance
Government Fraud/waste/error, case management, crime prevention
Online Web metrics, site design, online recommendations