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Data Isn't Important, But How You Consume It Is

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For more than two decades, corporate executives and business owners have been obsessed over capturing as much data as possible, from clients, employees, suppliers, developers and other relevant sources. Due to the relatively modest volume of data created at the time, whoever held the most data had the greatest competitive advantage. But the thing that has changed in the data space between then and now is abundance.

According to the International Data Corporation, more than 59 zettabytes of data were created in 2020 — 30 times greater in volume than generated just 10 years ago. The sheer amount of data available has exploded, much more than any single company can handle. As a result, how a company consumes data is a more significant determinant of success than how much data they collect.

Let’s explore the importance of data consumption and see the resources businesses can use to optimally process and leverage their data.

Related: The Insane Amounts of Data We're Using Every Minute (Infographic)

There are two types of data:

Raw, unstructured data, consisting of numbers or lines of code.

Processed data, which is raw data that has been cleaned, organized and transformed into information (i.e., knowledge).

Raw data is unusable, while processed data is key to driving business decisions.

But how do you create structured data?

The answer is through data consumption.

Data consumption is the process of transforming raw data into processed information readable by business intelligence (BI) software, which then extracts meaningful analyses and patterns.

In many ways, how a company consumes data is similar to gold mining. Gold, a precious metal, only becomes valuable once it’s excavated from the earth, refined and melted into........

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