Data analytics is where the 'magic' happens: Gartner

Gartner has pointed out that there are great advantages when businesses use analytics to help make decisions about their operations.

Tesco and Netflix were some companies listed off by Gartner that are taking advantage of analytics to help with their business operation decisions.

Speaking at the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit today in Sydney, Gartner managing vice president Ian Bertram said the magic is happening within business models using analytics, noting that organisations that treat information as an asset are significantly rewarded from a budget perspective through to becoming market leaders.

Bertram also said that while data is currently known as "big data", by 2015, it'll just be "data as usual", and it will come from wearable devices. In fact, Gartner has predicted that by 2020, consumer data collected from wearable devices will drive 5 percent of sales.

"Consumers will start to care about analytics to improve their own lives, not just businesses," he said, highlighting that analytics will be the most important for the healthcare sector going forward.

Gartner also believes that by 2016, 25 percent of business analytics deployments will be in the form of subscription to the cloud, including business analytics platform as a service and business analytics software as a service. "Cloud will become a natural environment for business analytics," Bertram said.

On the flipside, Gartner vice president of research Frank Buytendijk warned that businesses need to understand the challenges involved with big data. The top three challenges that organisations face when it comes to big data, according to Gartner, is knowing how to get value out from it (56 percent), followed by defining strategy (41 percent), and obtaining skills (34 percent).

Buytendijk also said that it's important for businesses to stay in control of the technology they use to analyse data, before crossing the "creepy line" of invading consumers' privacy.

"It's not easy; let's face it, we're not all very good at calculating the value of data," he said.

"Easy-to-use tools does not mean it leads to better decisions; if you don't know what you're doing, it can lead to spectacular failure."

Supporting this point, Gartner predicts that by 2016, 25 percent of organisations using consumer data will face reputation damage due to inadequate understanding of information trust issues.

Gartner research director Lisa Kart agreed, saying that while the future of making business decisions using data is not black and white, there are benefits. It can lead to more flexibility, better results, and greater conversations, especially when there is transparency and the data is shared across a business.

"Just don't go overboard, and make sure there's an escalation process in the case of the analysis the computer makes; make sure there's a manual override, and know when to pull the plug on technology," she warned.