• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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The crusade of data & analytics: A quest for truth

The crusade of data & analytics: A quest for truth

W. Somerset Maugham once said, “The fact that a great many people believe something is no guarantee of its truth.” This statement rings true in our world, filled with chaos and uncertainty. If data and analytics solutions could provide more evidence and context-based facts, we should be nearing an end to these uncertainties. Despite heavy investments in infrastructure and talent to foster a data and analytics culture, many organisations still face slow growth or even total collapse.

In 2021, the International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasted that the global compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for big data and business analytics solutions from 2021 to 2025 would be 12.8 percent. This growth is driven by businesses grappling to mitigate COVID uncertainties and prevent future occurrences. Global spending was estimated at about $130 billion in 2020, and considering the IDC growth forecast, this figure is projected to reach about $231 billion by 2025. While there is no global data available to confirm the number of businesses that have heavily invested in data and analytics solutions and have collapsed, we are aware of the struggling economies worldwide. This raises the question: Is data and analytics a “must-have” or “should-have” in any private or public business?

 

Image Credit: Microsoft Bing CoPilot

The distinction between “must-have” and “should-have” investments in data and analytics solutions stems from the strategic and cultural buy-ins when introducing these solutions into any system. The knowledge and experience of strategic leaders shape the agenda and ensure proper alignment of the business, people, and processes beyond investment decisions. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.” Leaders know when they are genuinely investing in data and analytics solutions for leverage or merely considering them as “should-haves.”

Governments are grappling with balancing inflation and economic growth without impacting the standard of living. Corporate entities are wriggling between profits and sustainable business, clean energy, and global warming, while the majority of people are still living below $1 a day.

Do we genuinely want to use data and analytics solutions to unravel the truth about enabling social good?

The dilemma becomes more harrowing with the rise of generative AI, which brings greater concerns about ethical and legal applications.

Will we ever use data and analytics to unravel the truth and help the world out of poverty and fake news?

A June 2023 article in the Harvard Business Review2 highlighted some of these ethical concerns about generative AI. How many of these concerns will be exploited by the “should-have” leaders in the data and analytics ecosystem? We are already seeing some of these generative AI contents used to incite others on social media. The concern is whether the corporate and public sectors can collaborate to manage or control the use of generative AI ethically—will there be freedom of speech? The responsible use of generative AI content is critical to enabling AI to help us find the truth!

 

Ismail Salami is a data, analytics, and insights professional who has worked across sectors in marketing and commercial analytics roles in Nigeria.