From personalization to geo-targeting, our customers demand more out of businesses to offer them compelling and engaging experiences.\nUnfortunately, simply putting a couple of tools on auto-pilot and using data as a reporting tool is no longer a viable option to stay lean or competitive. CIOs need to recognize the importance of creating a data-driven culture in 2018 or fall by the wayside.\nAccording to New Vantage Partners\u2019 Big Data Executive Survey 2017, only 37% of companies who pledged to become more data-driven, have actually successfully accomplished their goal.\nA number of obstacles exist in the way of achieving a data-driven culture. For one, data-driven goals don\u2019t often align with executive decisions and short-term strategies. More than that, without experienced data scientists and guided organizational change, much of your IT staff and marketing department will remain woefully ignorant to their customer\u2019s needs.\nForrester predicts that companies who are able to master data-centric approaches to their growth will collectively earn global revenue upward of $1.8 trillion.\nWith more and more companies dipping their toes in the \u2018big data\u2019 pool, the need to become data-driven has never been more critical. \u00a0\nMoving toward \u2018intelligent\u2019 analytics\n\u00a0\u2018Intelligent analytics\u2019 attempts reign in big data through the use of AI and machine learning protocols to make sense of large data sets and deliver intelligent recommendations to CIOs.\nFurthermore, intelligent analytics automates data handling tasks, freeing up capital and labor to allow firms to scale.\nIt\u2019s not enough to even leverage analytics software anymore; data needs to be intelligent and work for you.\nStaff benefit from intelligent analytics by making more informed decisions. From leveraging a DMP to employing greater granularity in targeting campaigns, intelligent analytics allows IT staff and marketers to deliver more personalized experiences that result in increased engagement and conversions.\nJust think of this. With the advent of IoT, data scientists were forced to change their predictions of total digital data from growing to 40 zettabytes by 2020 to 44 ZB instead.\nHere are five ways you can leverage this technology by converting your company into a data-centric culture.\n1. Purchasing the right tools\nCIOs are starting to accelerate the adoption of machine learning tools into their daily workflow to automate manually exhaustive tasks and improve operational inefficiencies. From creating data quality assurance checks to providing automated recommendations from large data sets, machine learning is transforming the way we do business.\nThe best way to fully leverage this technology is by investing in business intelligence portal. Business intelligence software is a centralized data portal where all members of an enterprise can access data and receive recommendations. For IT staff, these insights can be used to create better end-user products and also resolve issues in their existing information architecture.\n2. Opening up data access\nTo become more data driven, CIOs and their staff need to become more data hungry. Opening up your tools to broader data pools can provide more insights for your business. For marketers, this includes targeting different channels and devices for behavioural data. For IT staff, this includes tracking product builds down internal pipelines and implementing greater user review and testing protocols for more feedback.\n3. Becoming data literate\nYet, simply having this information at your disposal is not enough to become more data-driven. There\u2019s a reason that data science is one of the fastest growing fields in tech right now. Businesses need to create a glossary of metrics to track, that all members of an organization can recognize.\nUsing a variety of tools, you may find that data will differ drastically among different sets, even if targeting the same users over the same period of time. Each API is different, which is why it\u2019s critical that staff members are aware of these nuances to create more cohesive strategies that reflect the data being shared.\n4. Aligning data with business objectives\nBeyond this, CIOs need to create data centric goals and track actionable KPIs that deliver value to a business. From conversion rates to app retention metrics, data should be used in an actionable way that both improves internal processes and end-user goals. From sales and finance to project management and service-level experiences, data should be rooted in goal-oriented tasks.\n5. Making the right decision\nFinally, harvesting all of this data is more cost than value if it\u2019s not being properly used to make decisions. CIOs need to lead the charge in a top-down approach to create a data centric culture by creating processes for decision-making that reflects data insights, as well as empowering analytics centers to provide automated insights and encompass data from a wider range of channels. Data without decisions is like burying your money in the ground.\nI\u2019m sure we\u2019re all aware of the importance of big data in the next frontier of IT and tech. But I\u2019m not sure if most firms are fully utilizing data to its full potential. Data is not merely a reporting or tracking tool anymore, it\u2019s become the impetus for top-level decision making that allows technical coordinators to automate tasks and improve efficiencies at their organization.