The future of data has arrived – and it’s going to make for smoother sailing for your organisation, with all hands on deck.

“We’re living in a world where the majority of countries have more mobile devices than humans, where more data has been created in the past two years than in the history of humankind,” says Jonathan Woodward, Business Lead for BI and Analytics at Microsoft UK. That includes 200 billion devices that are being connected to the Internet and firing out data from things such as sensors from lifts right through to Wi-Fi connected pedometers on cows.

According to Woodward, the demand for quickly sharing insights inside organisations for the purpose of collaborative decision-making has reached a tipping point.

Email overload

But where are we now? With more data than ever, studies are showing that email, social media and meetings are distracting us, creating anxiety and making us less productive. Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine who studies digital distraction, found that office workers are interrupted roughly every three minutes. And once you’re interrupted, it can be another 23 minutes before you return to your original task.

The digital economy may have its own solution to this problem: making decisions inside of applications. “In the past, if I wanted to make a decision on stock control, for example, I’d send out an email and wait. And because I was dealing with 15 people across the UK, I’d get 15 emails,” Woodward says, “Now I’ve got an application where we can collaborate on the dashboard in real time and make decisions in real time.”

Intelligent applications leverage lots of data with deep analytics and business intelligence (BI) solutions to deliver a new experience, one that helps people make decisions without wasting a lot of time.

“These applications have a level of intelligence where they understand the data context, apply analytics and make it available to all people,” Woodward says.

All aboard The Intelligent dashboard

According to Bruce Rioch, Head of Business Information and Customer Systems at Metro Bank, while getting the right big data analytics is one part of the digital economy challenge, at the right time to deliver the right insight.

Metro Bank adopted Power BI when it moved over to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. The bank is now using Power BI to drive millions of transactions into balance sheets and profit-and-loss statements, “making the lives of our finance team really easy,” says Rioch. All with only 45 minutes of training per employee.

He likes how executives and colleagues can view and collaborate using the technology and points to a natural-language Q&A feature that colleagues can use to get highly relevant analytics, even if they’ve never used business intelligence tools before. “It’s my favourite bit,” Rioch says of the feature. “I like to watch people’s faces when they see how easy it is to get information that hasn’t already been published.” Power BI is so simple and visually appealing that he expects the bank to roll it out to all colleagues.

Find out more about intelligent dashboards by attending the ‘Dashboard in a Day’ workshop. Email Jonathan Woodward for more info and to register