“Data,” “big data,” and “analytics” might seem scary to many, but they don’t need to be! These words are increasingly becoming ingrained in the vocabulary, and workflow, of the everyday employee today.

And, as part of the wave of the future, more and more people will be consuming data and performing analytics. Now keep in mind that a vast number of these folks aren’t data scientists; they don’t necessarily know how to program (nor do they want to), and they don’t live, breathe, or dream about mathematical algorithms, machine learning, or statistics.

Within the data and analytics industry, there’s certainly been a big movement toward putting advanced analytics into the hands of everyone—toward simplifying it and making it accessible. Yet I’ve talked with many people in organisations who aren’t taking advantage of these analytical advancements.

In some way, we could draw a comparison to an era when desktop computers first emerged. Before personal computers magically entered the scene and became part of our everyday landscape, such machines might have seemed daunting and frightening to some, albeit undoubtedly exciting and promising to others! Nowadays, it’s hard to fathom a time when there wasn’t such easy access to computers for an infinite number of possibilities that we now take for granted.

From my perspective, the number of industries that use data and analytics in some form—and individual use cases within those industries—defies the imagination.

Take the entertainment industry, as just one example. This industry abounds with scenarios where data and analytics are part of the everyday decision-making and strategies that influence what content is produced, and the nature of it. Based on user and demographic data, feedback about preferences, and other input, a show—and all the details behind it that are often invisible to us—might veer in a different direction than originally planned.

As any new technological advance or invention that increasingly becomes familiarised, in time, it will probably be hard to imagine a way of life where things like data, big data, and analytics aren’t entrenched in our ordinary lives. And with that, the intimidation factor can thankfully disappear.

Information is power! When everyday workers can access data, and extract sense from it, the power and potential to have a meaningful influence on decisions and outcome is nothing short of exciting!

In what ways do you see data and advanced analytics as penetrating more and more into everyday life, across an increasing variety of industries?