Like all small businesses we are always looking for competitive advantage in an innovative market. We firmly believe that 2018 is the year when the value of big data starts to have a significant impact on small and medium size enterprises in a way that just hasn’t been possible until now.

Why is that? Because of smart analytics… managed by AI, making sense of all this data and presenting it back to people in a way they can understand – in other words, creating actionable insights.

The Consumer Technology Association’s senior director of Market Research identified AI as number 2 in their seven trends to watch in 2018, particularly in the realms of personal assistance in a consumer environment, as you might expect. However, when we start thinking how that applies to helping business functions and the people who run them get a handle, quickly and easily on what is happening based on vast amounts of incoming data from multiple disparate sources, you can start seeing why AI and smart analytics can channel big data into a value knowledge & insight stream, rather than just another thing to worry about that no-one in the organisation really understands.

Deloitte talk about how AI and robots (by which they mean robotic processes in software as much as they mean actual physical machines) will augment rather than threaten human performance, by automating parts of the task, freeing humans to focus on more human aspects of the job. Even the current hype cycle of block chains fits in – the distributed, decentralised trust token at the core of blockchains potentially frees up data silos, inside and outside of businesses, allowing even more big data to help inform business intelligence.

As Grant Thornton’s own Risk Advisory Services National Managing Principal Vishal Chawla pointed out in 2017, “your best business bet is not avoiding risk but weighing and controlling it…aligning risk strategy with business strategy.”

That strategy requires data, and smart analytics.

Coming back to Beacon, our immediate focus is on giving our clients the business intelligence they need to make better decisions about all digital activity, not just social media – improving the content they produce, the adverts they place, and the targeting decisions they make.

We understand that our biggest challenge in 2018 is to keep ourselves abreast of existing, emerging and as yet unknown technologies that are going to change the way business operates this year, next year and beyond. We advise you to do so too by reading the following sources for this article.

Tenfold go into more detail about how to leverage data lakes in their blog