What’s the Big Deal with Data?

What’s the Big Deal with Data?

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datadrive15-11-15Data Driving this is not only the abundance of data today, but the fundamental technologies that change the way we gather, store, analyze, and transform information. Software, data, and the crucial answers people are delivering from both are the focus of a new report released by BSA | The Software Alliance.  

How people are improving their lives each day with data answers – ranging from helpful everyday conveniences and better urban planning, to earlier predictions of weather crises and life-saving healthcare breakthroughs.

So, much deeper understanding of data as an innovative, transformative tool, and of dramatic improvements in data analytics that are helping people find unanticipated solutions.  It also demystifies misunderstanding about how data is gathered and used most often, without encroaching on individuals’ privacy.

In the 21st century, we are undergoing a rapid acceleration of this process. As data becomes more abundant and the cost of data storage plummets, new technologies are equipping data scientists with cutting-edge tools that unlock valuable insights from vast amounts of data. As those technologies that process data become more transformative, their impacts become more profound and opportunities even more pervasive.

storage-costs15-11-15Data transitions from a once-scarce resource to an increasingly abundant, valuable, and renewable resource, it is becoming a primary source of economic and societal benefits. Historically, it has been access to resources like land, labor, and capital that provided the economic differentiator between those who succeeded and those who failed. Today, 90 percent of business leaders cite data as one of the key resources and a fundamental differentiator for businesses, on par with basic resources like land, labor, and capital.

“People’s groundbreaking use of data is causing extraordinary change and progress across the globe. Their data-related efforts are empowering other people and communities, and helping businesses use resources more effectively,” said BSA President and CEO Victoria Espinel. “As the data-driven economy grows, new software will continue to help us all better understand and transform this data into even more real, actionable solutions.”

BSA’s report highlights how the emerging data-driven economy is impacting numerous sectors – such as manufacturing, transportation, energy, agriculture, education and healthcare. In the process, $15 trillion is expected to be added to the global GDP by 2030, representing a significant boost to the global economy, Espinel noted.

More data is being created today than ever before. More than 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in just the past two years, and the world is now doubling the rate that data is produced every two years.

“The biggest challenge now is knowing how to harness this data and put it to work,” Espinel said.  “Data must be best gathered, stored, analyzed, and translated to achieve meaningful results, and decision makers around the world must understand the importance of policies that best enable this to happen.”

Espinel noted the sizable opportunity lawmakers and regulators have to establish clear rules that promote the free flow of data across borders, and invest in the much-needed IT workforce in order to open marketplaces and allow companies to innovate.

“The wide range of problems that data is solving shows how much impact the data revolution already is having on the world economy,” Espinel said. “Of course there are significant issues, such as user privacy, that need to be thoughtfully addressed.  But with boundless information, the possibilities are limitless for everything from classrooms and hospitals to highways and robotics.  Effectively gathering, storing, analyzing and transforming invaluable data will let people continue to improve their lives, and grow our innovation economy as a whole.”

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