Trying to figure out the tsunami of data that technology throws at your business can be daunting -- and many times overwhelming. Yet using that information to act fast on challenges and opportunities is vital to your business' success.

Lincolnshire-based Zebra Technologies -- which already has developed data intelligence systems that help retail business and logistics companies -- is taking its portfolio a step further with a new operating platform designed to gather, crunch and deliver information quickly, giving businesses the ability to act swiftly and efficiently to potential opportunities.

Known as Savanna, Zebra's centralized data platform brings together internet of Things connectivity, configuration management, data transport and storage, analytics and machine learning components. Its ability to gather data through multiple channels and analyze that data allows companies to get information to the right people in real time, giving them the power to act immediately and efficiently.

Matthew Hayes, director of Enterprise Intelligent Software at Zebra Technologies, refers to Savanna as the "glue" that makes sense of the information "so when events happen, actions can be semi-automated or automated quickly." Hayes points out that Savanna pulls together data collected from the numerous sources -- from internet or cloud sources to cameras, sensors or RFID tags -- and uses that information to transmit data to employees in real time, allowing them to make the decisions that best serve the business and its customers.

"If you're not acting on the data that you've created, that you've sensed and analyzed, then you've likely spent money and not produced the value in capturing a new opportunities, or driving down costs, or getting that great efficiencies," said Hayes.

As an example, he said, a retail store that offers online ordering and in-store pick can process the information through Savanna to assure a clerk has a customer's order ready and waiting when he arrives at the store.

Savanna is designed to complement Zebra's SmartLens system for retail and SmartPack system for the logistics industry, and will be a part of other Enterprise Asset Intelligence systems the company designs for its other targeted industries, like health care and manufacturing. But Savanna can also be adapted for software and hardware from other companies, Hayes said, expanding the platform in more industries, In fact, five global companies have already signed on to Zebra's early adopter program to do just that.

While there's a lot to ingest in the world of connectivity and analytics, Hayes said Savanna and Zebra's EAI offerings all come down to giving owners and workers the ability to understand how to best manage their business' operations in the digital age.

"To use the adage, when a tree falls, you have to translate that vibration to a noise. You need an ear," he said.

"You can invest in the 'sense' and 'analyze,' but if you don't have the 'act' on the data, then you're not really hearing the sound and seeing the benefit of what digitization and IoT really promise."