Data visualization may be the key to future-proofing your business.

According to a 2012 study by Richard N. Foster of Yale University, the average lifespan of a company listed in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has decreased from 67 years in the 1920s to just 15 years today.

In 2016, the World Economic Forum released a report called ‘The Future of Jobs’, which claims five million jobs would be displaced by 2020. The report further states that as many as 7.1 million jobs could be lost through:

  • Redundancy — e.g. hiring too many employees when fewer can do the same job
  • Automation — e.g. installing a mechanical device that that functions automatically, without needed continuous human input
  • Disintermediation — e.g. removing mediators and giving customers direct access to information or processes

Understandably, this fourth industrial revolution has left many people fearful of widespread job displacement and the socio-economic impact created as a result of technology.

According to the World Economic Forum’s report, most of this widespread disruption will be caused by seven technologies:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Machine-learning
  • Robotics
  • Nanotechnology
  • 3-D printing
  • Genetics
  • Biotechnology

Future-Proofing Your Business with Data Visualization

data visualization dashboard of SAP BusinessObjects Cloud

While a predicted 7.1 million jobs could be lost by 2020, there is some good news. Over 2 million new jobs will be created, mainly in fields such as computer programming, mathematics, architecture, and engineering. This means there are opportunities to use technology to your advantage. Data visualization, for instance, turns ‘dumb data’ into ‘smart data’ so that you can be more progressive with your business.

Adapt to change

Mark Cuban once said, “The one constant in any technology-based company is change.” To survive in this technological market, you need to be able to anticipate where things are going and adapt before it’s too late.

To avoid becoming the next Blockbuster (no offense Blockbuster), be progressive and open to change. Grace Hopper, Computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral, once famously stated, “The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘we’ve always done it that way.’

Your business’ analytics are key to helping you adapt to the changing market landscape. By visualizing your data, you can be in tune with your analytics, harnessing real-time data to help you position your business. Data visualization can also help you use your analytics to better understand your customer and your market. Know where they are, what they want, and what problems they’re trying to solve. Through the visualization of data, patterns will emerge, giving you the insights to better serve current customers, attract new ones, and grow your market share.

Never settle, look ahead

Henry Ford famously stated,“If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This is why it’s important to be a visionary. With data visualization, you can take your business analytics to the next level. By running predictive analyses, you can forecast trends to stay ahead of the competition. The more you understand what your customers’ problems are, the better you can innovate solutions that serve them.

With predictive forecasting, you can run time-series algorithms on historic data that considers trends, cycles and/or fluctuations to predict future values. You can use these future values to go a step beyond your current output and anticipate future needs. If you can spot the trends early enough, you can be first to market in a new category rather than competing in an existing one. In Ford’s case, he foresaw a need for innovation and capitalized in a big way.

Companies that are too rigid or set in their ways become dinosaurs. In his #1 bestselling book Good to Great – Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, author James C. Collins says, “Good is the enemy of great.”

good is the enemy of great quote

In other words, there is sometimes a tendency to settle for good and not go a step beyond to achieve greatness. Why settle for the same old products, processes, and systems when there could be something better? Trying new methods and ways of thinking stimulate innovation and growth.

Embrace the Change

In a 2016 report by McKinsey & Company, it was reported that automation won’t eliminate occupations entirely, but rather it will have a significant impact on nearly all jobs. In other words, the workforce will become more specialized. Those who embrace this change and adapt are most likely to survive. In the past 30 years we have already seen massive market disruption from technology. Computers, devices, apps, and software have transformed our lives, the workplace, and the we do business.

Technology should not be feared, it should be embraced for what it is — a tool that makes our lives easier and enables us to work more efficiently.

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