The Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining steam with connected devices creating more data than ever before. According to a new report by Cisco, more than half of IP traffic will come from devices other than PCs and there will be 7.3 billion machine-to-machine connections by 2018 —that’s about the same amount of connected devices as there are people on earth.

Everything from refrigerators and vehicles to hospital bedside monitors and thermostats are tracking and collecting data. So what does this mean for businesses that are trying to not only gather that information, but find ways to leverage data that will bring value to their bottom lines?

Quite simply, the more data sources you are able to leverage, the better your information will be, translating into an increase in business opportunities. Leading edge companies have the chance to learn from all of their data and make better-informed decisions that affect their bottom lines, their employees and their customers. For example, they might learn new ways customers are using their product and then could identify potential opportunities to market their product in new ways to different target audiences.

But consuming and analyzing the output of data from billions of devices and making it relevant to business users is a new scale of problem. To tap into these unstructured data sources and make smarter business decisions, companies must invest in the right technology that can keep pace in today’s ever-changing, fast-paced world.

Businesses need enterprise-caliber BI solutions that deliver accurate and actionable information in an intuitive way. Even more important, given the growing number of connected devices, is a solution that can combine data from multiple sources, make it analytic ready and compile it into a single repository so users can quickly get the most accurate answers to the most pressing business concerns in real time.

While the Internet of Things is building traction, businesses require more than just basic data discovery tools that answer one-off queries, or antiquated solutions that are reserved for data analysts. Instead, they need business intelligence platforms that are constantly integrating and analyzing data to glean the most accurate insights. And most importantly, they need solutions architected around business users so everyone across the organization has access to the best in business intelligence.

As the IoT continues to play an even greater role in today’s data-driven world, businesses must be prepared to unleash its value or risk losing ground to competitors who do.