Nana Kojo Hagan writes: Data is more valuable than oil

Just as oil fuelled the industrial revolution, data is propelling the information age forward, transforming industries and reshaping economies

In the digital age, data has emerged as the new currency, surpassing the traditional commodity of oil in its significance.

Just as oil fuelled the industrial revolution, data is propelling the information age forward, transforming industries and reshaping economies. Ghana, like many other nations, stands on the cusp of a data revolution, where unlocking the potential of data can drive sustainable development and economic growth.

When British mathematician Clive Humby likened data to oil in 2006, he underscored the intrinsic value embedded within raw data.

Just as oil requires refining to unlock its potential, data must undergo a similar process to be transformed into actionable insights. Its value lies not in its raw state but in the refinement, processing, and utilisation that follow.

In today’s business landscape, companies worldwide are leveraging data to maximise profits and gain a competitive edge. From retail giants like Amazon, which harnesses customer data for personalised recommendations, to tech titans like Google, which employ data-driven algorithms for targeted advertising, examples abound. Data-driven decision-making has become a cornerstone of success, permeating industries from healthcare to transportation, and beyond.

Within the realm of banking and finance, the importance of data cannot be overstated. Financial institutions rely on data analytics to assess risk, detect fraud, and optimise customer experiences. From algorithmic trading strategies to credit scoring models, data informs every aspect of banking operations, driving efficiency and profitability.

However, realising the full potential of data requires a concerted effort in the refining process. In Ghana, as in many developing nations, the journey begins with data collection. Investing in robust data collection processes and storage systems lays the foundation for a data-driven future. Embracing technologies like cloud computing enables scalable and cost-effective storage solutions, facilitating seamless access to vast datasets.

Data mining emerges as the next crucial step, extracting valuable insights from the wealth of information amassed. Leveraging advanced analytics techniques, businesses can uncover hidden patterns, trends, and correlations within their data, informing strategic decision-making.

Yet, data’s true power is unleashed when it informs business and financial decisions. By integrating data into the decision-making process, organisations gain a competitive advantage, driving innovation and growth. From identifying market opportunities to optimising supply chains, data-driven insights pave the way for success.

To embark on this transformative journey, Ghana must focus on the three fundamental pillars, akin to those in entrepreneurship: Land, Labour, and Capital. Constructing a foundation for Data Land involves establishing a pervasive data culture, starting with raising awareness and nurturing a mindset of data literacy. Empowering individuals across all levels through targeted training sessions and educational initiatives is paramount to effectively harnessing the power of data.

In terms of labour, investing in the right talent is essential. Recruiting data professionals, including data scientists, analysts, engineers, and AI specialists, ensures the expertise needed to navigate the complexities of data-driven decision-making.

Lastly, capital investment is paramount. Committing resources to data infrastructure, technologies, and initiatives demonstrates a commitment to leveraging data as a driver of economic development.

In conclusion, the analogy of data as the new oil holds true, particularly in the context of Ghana’s journey towards a data-driven future. By recognising the value of data, investing in the refining process, and embracing a culture of data-driven decision-making, Ghana can unlock unprecedented opportunities for growth and prosperity in the digital age.

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Nana Kojo Hagan, a professional with a solid educational background, holding a BSc degree in Actuarial Science from KNUST and an MSc with distinction in Business Analytics from Coventry University.

Currently serving as a business intelligence analyst at Dataware. My passion lies in empowering organisations across Africa to harness the full potential of data for progress. With a keen eye for analytics and a commitment to driving innovation, I am dedicated to leveraging data-driven insights to fuel growth and success in today’s dynamic business landscape.

In this regard, I want you to mark your calendars for a pivotal event in the Ghanaian financial landscape! On Tuesday, 5th March 2024, Dataware is hosting a full-day workshop at the Airport View Hotel in Accra, themed ‘Empowering Decision Makers’.

Tailored for banking and finance professionals, this hands-on session promises practical insights into leveraging data effectively. Don’t miss this opportunity to enhance your skills and stay ahead in the data-driven world of finance.

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