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A New Gold Rush Is On. Who Will Strike It Rich?

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Original article by Michael Dell of Dell 

Data is arguably the most important natural resource of this century. Top thinkers are no longer the people who can tell you what happened in the past, but those who can predict the future. Welcome to the Data Economy, which holds the promise for significantly advancing society and economic growth on a global scale.

Big data is big news just about everywhere you go these days. Here in Texas, everything’s big, so we just call it data. But we’re all talking about the same thing—the universe of structured data, like transactional information in databases, and also the unstructured data, like social media, that exists in its natural form in the real world.

Organizations of all sizes are trying to figure out how to use all of this data to deliver a better customer experience and build new business models. Consumers are struggling to balance a desire for automated, personalized services with the need for safety. Governments are pressured to use all available data in support of national security, but not at the expense of citizens’ right to privacy. And underlying it all is the realization that data, if managed, secured and leveraged properly, is the pathway to progress and economic success.

So who will strike it rich in this new, data-driven gold rush? It will invariably be those who are willing to accept the new realities of the Data Economy. Business instincts and intuition are being augmented and increasingly replaced by data analysis as the drivers of success. We’ve seen it at Dell. Our marketing team uncovered more than $310 million in additional revenue last year through the use of advanced analytics. This year, we expect that number to exceed half-a-billion.

We believe that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and we’re accelerating our strategy. Recently we announced the acquisition of StatSoft, a leading provider of data mining, predictive analytics and data visualization solutions. It is yet another investment in our enterprise solutions, software and services portfolio specifically designed to help our customers turn data into action.

But contrary to popular opinion, the data economy isn’t just for global enterprises like Dell. A Dell-commissioned study that we will announce later this month found that mid-market companies are increasingly investing in data projects to drive better decision making and better business results. We have also found that startups that use technology more effectively create twice as many jobs on average and are more productive and profitable than companies that don’t.

At their core, entrepreneurs are all about solving problems, and nothing provides a better window into problems than data. Consider the popularity of Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies. The simple act of connecting to and delivering data paved the way for many successful businesses that in turn created an entirely new segment of the economy.

The day is near when the use of data analytics will simply become the price of remaining viable and competitive in the global marketplace. There is still a lot of uncertainty about the Data Economy, but this much is clear: the opportunity for data-driven organizations is golden.

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