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Traditionally data warehouses do not contain today's data.

They are usually loaded with data via an Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) process from operational systems on a periodic basis, often nightly, but sometimes even weekly. In any case, they are a window on the past.

With the ever-growing pace of business today, are these history-based analytical data sources providing the right insights when they are most needed?

With mobile apps becoming so intrinsic and ubiquitous, we as consumers have become the greatest critics on app user experience and useability. Sparse design, no visual clutter, minimal colour palette, crisp typography and clear navigation have all become design attributes we now expect in apps designed for individuals, and from a commercial aspect, service organisations. So now in the field services sector the demand for slick, easy to use mobile apps is growing and so too is their purpose and role with regards to the collection of data.

Cloud, Mobile, Big Data Analytics and Social were the key themes of the IBM’s IT Conference held in Singapore this past week.

As a technical marketing professional concerned with the needs of the average small to mid-sized business, I wanted to make my own mind up whether this was all marketing hype or if there was some real value I could take home to share with our clients on the benefits that could be gleaned for their businesses.

I’ll put my hand up and admit that if you hand me a Profit & Loss (P&L) and Balance Sheet (BS) report and ask me to provide insight, I’ll probably stare at it like one of those magic eye books praying for the ‘aha!’ moment when it is all miraculously revealed.

The information I need to analyse and understand the business is in the reports, but it isn’t presented in a way I can intuitively understand or use.

How do I analyse to gain insight?

I generate dozens of reports each month on how our clients websites are performing, but how should success truly be measured, by the number of visits or by the quality of the visits?

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