Enterprise Executive 2017: Issue 2 : Page 31

• Known Potential Data : The organization is aware of useful external data but has not established a process for procuring and integrating it. With unknown data, the organization is ignorant to the potential data sets that are readily available and potentially very useful. To avoid this predicament, we recommend some emphasis be put on surveying the data market opportunities provided by BI software companies and cloud services vendors. Though the ROI is not laid out in advance, the potential returns of finding useful data may well be worth the investment of budgeting an external data investigation project. In the case of known potential data, the organization has an interest in procuring external data but has not done so, typically due to perceived barriers that may not be realistic. Depending on the source, the task of procuring external data can range from trivial to nontrivial on a scale of procurement effort, and from free to expensive on a scale of cost. An example of a trivial procurement effort would be a direct data feed provided by a BI software platform that comes with simple tools and data markets for the integration of structured external data at desired refresh intervals. In more complicated procurement cases, an FTP server must be reached and specific instructions provided (presumably in an automated fashion) to retrieve the requisite files for the desired time frames, after which the data in these files may or may not be restructured en route to be useful. An additional perceived impediment to acquiring external data is restrictions placed on the use of the acquired data. There are different rules for different data, but in general, most of the data from government and NGO sources is not restrictive. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau provides many data points such as population counts by gender, race and age down to the ZIP code and company characteristics (such as employment and age) by sector, age and size. This data is refreshed annually, is public domain and may be freely used for non-commercial and commercial purposes (in fact, it may be used in derivative works and sublicensed with no source attribution requirement). Given the facilities that are now available for acquiring external data at low cost, opportunities abound for enterprises large and small. In fact, new business opportunities are likely to emerge. In combination with cheaper and more efficient storage (or cloud-based infrastructure) and vastly improved data software platforms with which to process and analyze the information, there may be something of a gold rush that could play out as enterprises increasingly use external data for competitive advantage. Don’t get left behind! EE Jared Decker is VP of Business Intelligence at Cyber Group and brings more than 15 years of career experience and 13 years of consulting experience exclusively in the areas of business intelligence and analytics. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Decision Support Systems from the University of Tampa and an MBA from the University of Houston. Email: jared.decker@cygrp.com 2017: Issue 2 | E nt e rp r i s e E xe c u t i ve | 31

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