Big data has come a long way in a few short years, but the data revolution is just beginning. McKinsey — again, a forward-thinking source of big data optimism — anticipates that data-driven problem-solving methods still in their infancy will become far more sophisticated in the next few years.
In the report The Data-Driven Enterprise of 2025, experts at McKinsey remind us that, while predictive systems drive many business functions, they're still often used sporadically. Problems identified through AI are still frequently solved via traditional business methods. Soon, however, employees at all levels will feel empowered to integrate data into their everyday tasks, replacing time-consuming road maps with innovative techniques that are more accurate and efficient.
Data as a Product
One of the most influential changes to expect in the next few years? The upcoming treatment of data as a product. Currently, there is no clearly defined ownership of data, which may be situated across sprawling environments that are prone to silos. Forbes Council Member Sanjeev Mohan5 anticipates that business leaders will soon regard data "as a product that must be managed with users and their desired outcomes in mind."
According to Mohan, the concept of the data product is akin to a self-contained "container," which can be monetized or used to solve specific business problems. This shift may seem subtle, but it helps to address data's full life cycle. Experts at Thoughtworks add that data as a product will form one of the "foundational pillars to move toward growing an innovation culture where data is readily and safely available for experimentation."
A World Without Cookies
For years, digital marketing initiatives depended on cookies to collect consumer data. The cookie era is coming to an end, however. These small files simply don't abide by today's expectations regarding consumer privacy. In an effort to promote a "privacy-first web," Google intends to replace cookies with "privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers."
As cookies disappear, data-driven businesses will need to adopt more nuanced solutions to continue gaining key insights and ultimately, producing personalized consumer experiences. While the removal of cookies will spark some initial difficulties, the long-term result could be a shift towards developing stronger relationships with clients and customers.
Invoca CEO Gregg Johnson refers to the imminent end of cookies as a "wake-up call for marketers to break their third-party data addictions and instead turn to review the data strategies within their organizations." Many of the companies we highlighted above are already doing this and have reaped the rewards.
The takeover of big data is just beginning and the implications will be huge for businesses and consumers alike. A nuanced approach can provide the best of both worlds: a personalized, enjoyable experience for the customer and stronger profits for the data-driven businesses of tomorrow.