We’re surrounded by information, and we’re creating more and more with every passing minute. According to IBM statistics, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day. What does that look like?

2,500,000,000,000,000,000. Per day.

And to give that some perspective, consider that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.

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Parcel shippers must prepare today for a future rich with possibilities and uncertainties; full of innovations and disruptors. Today, you can request an Uber ride and have a driver waiting outside with only a couple of taps on your smartphone and Amazon has patented “Anticipatory Shipping” – shipping before the customers have ordered. The state of the art of moving things from point A to point B is evolving rapidly.

Welcome to the age of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, where massive amounts of information exist, is accessible, often in real time, and is used to create valuable insights that can change the rules of the game.

In every area of our lives – from fast-food purchases to GPS positioning, from warehouse inventories to cat videos, and far beyond – data is like a raging river of information, sweeping by at a pace that is both impressive and overwhelming.

And like a river, data can be harnessed to power tools that not only help us become more informed but more effective and productive. Thanks to advances in technology we can tap into the power of data to both turn it into knowledge and convert it into actionable insight.

That knowledge and insight is the heart of analytics, where data becomes intelligence and, in turn, can become strategy. And this is critical because of the sheer volume of data available, whether we’re talking about global sales or parcel shipping – harnessing the power of information is a competitive imperative.

Knowledge is power. More precisely, in a competitive business ecosystem, having more or better or more timely knowledge than the competition is power. A spreadsheet simply isn’t enough; today, in addition to modern Big Data tools and analysis techniques, we need at-a-glance charts, tables and graphics that make the complicated simple.

There are several analogies that could apply: Big Data could be a flood that drowns the unprepared, it could be the rising tide that lifts all the ships that are prepared, or, as is the case of hydro-electric generation plants, it could be harnessed as a source of power.

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