In 2022, Businesses Will Lay the Groundwork for to Unlock the Full Power of Data

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In this special guest feature, Ankit Patel, SVP of Engineering at Foursquare, offers 4 trends that will help pave the path for businesses to unlock the full potential of data in 2022. In his role, Ankit is tasked with accelerating the offerings Foursquare provides to every vertical, customer, and partner. He is also helping to drive a culture of builders and pioneers within the company. Ankit holds a bachelor’s degree of applied science from the University of Waterloo.

Regardless of industry, sector, size or priorities, most organizations have one thing in common: the desire to become data-driven. In fact, according to a study released in early 2021, 99% of executives surveyed reported investing heavily in Big Data and AI, with nearly as many expecting the rate of investment in these areas to accelerate. But when it comes to becoming data-driven, organizations must learn to walk before they can run.

Investing in data is essential, but immensely complicated. Indeed, the sheer ubiquity of data makes it difficult to parse out what data is valuable, let alone determine the best source for that data, how best to derive insights from it, and how to deploy those insights to drive meaningful business outcomes. 

As such, 2022 will likely be the year that businesses focus on becoming data-smart and unlocking the full value of data.  Developing and maintaining such a nuanced understanding of consumers and the competitive landscape will be critical in 2022, as businesses continue to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. A strategic approach to data will help struggling or burgeoning businesses with everything from targeting the right customers, to converting online sales into in-store visits, to creating better in-app experiences and much more.

As companies attempt to realize the value of data 2022, we’re going to see increases across the following areas:

  1. Moving data to the cloud:  As cyberattacks have become more sophisticated, the cloud will become the primary location for all stored data. Many companies are already struggling to manage security in-house, and a large number of companies have already moved their applications to cloud providers. But for many of these companies, data still exists on-premise today. This will change rapidly. Companies will bolster their cybersecurity by leveraging cloud providers, who will provide sophisticated cyber capabilities. Companies across every industry will modernize their data platforms to leverage analytics, machine learning and enhanced data protections.
  1. Embracing trusted third-parties: Companies will increasingly leverage trusted third-parties to build better, more complete solutions in a shorter period of time.   Companies will shift from relying on in-house or low-quality – and typically low-cost – third-parties to more trusted, mature, and privacy-forward partners. With advances in security, encryption and storage, companies will become much more comfortable with sharing data with and receiving data from third parties who operate in the cloud. This will increase the innovation fly-wheel for the vast majority of companies. For companies operating in sectors that deal with sensitive data and have more strict data governance laws, there will be a shift to utilizing trusted third parties to process and enrich data only within the confines of their own data center or virtual private cloud (VPC).
  1. Investing in data science: With the volume of data being collected is increasing every day, it’s more and more difficult to distinguish the signal from the noise. Data science helps companies make decisions by using scientific approaches, algorithms, and frameworks to extract the knowledge and insight from a huge amount of data. Expanding in-house data science teams and investing in AI and other analysis tools will skyrocket in the next year. To deal with copious amounts of various types of location data, businesses will need to rely heavily on well-staffed internal data science teams and AI models to identify opportunities, perform exploratory data analysis, build and optimize models that process billions of records of data daily. 
  1. Shifting to data unification: Data unification is an ongoing process that consists of turning raw data from various operational systems into a single source of unified profiles. Why is this process important? The removal or softening of data silos is beneficial for numerous reasons, not least of which includes the ability to interact with customers on all platforms – mobile, desktop, and beyond – and better understand how those consumers are behaving as well as what their needs and preferences are. This single customer view will enable companies to devise smarter marketing strategies, personalize consumer experiences, and inform everything from market expansion to inventory planning. 

While these shifts have already begun, 2022 will prove the year that it will become do-or-die for companies to adapt and shift towards better data driven decision making. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new layer of urgency in the competition to understand and win over consumers and customers, and investing in unlocking the full value of data now will pay off in the short and long term.  

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