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Better insight requires fast responses and data quality

New data tactics are enabling companies across sectors to do more with less. Rather than asking analytics teams to spend hours sifting through spreadsheets and databases to identify trends, they can now harness information from multiple sources in real time and parse them together to spot valuable insights, according to Information Age.

For instance, apparel companies are tapping into these strategies to predict trends and eliminate waste. Thomas Friese, senior project manager for forecasting at German shopping catalog Otto, told the source that with big data, his company can predict the number of specific items that will sell at various locations and relay that information to suppliers. By placing these orders preemptively, they can cut supply chain costs.

However, it's difficult to anticipate future needs because there are a range of factors that can impact outcomes. It's like hitting a moving target, according to Information Management, and when so many pieces are in motion, data quality becomes even more critical.

"Analytics projects are highly nuanced and follow the way humans think and decide, and that doesn't follow a prescribed, structured approach," International Institute for Analytics faculty member Mike Lampa told the source. "We start with one premise and then we'll find a tangent we need to chase down because it's proving to have a lot of reward. The rule book is rewritten every day."