We live in times when an increasing number of businesses realise that they need more intelligent data usage. Data is a business’ most critical asset. It can help your business identify new market opportunities, improve internal processes, and understand customer behaviour. Businesses must go on a journey to explore how to use all their data. This article will give an example of how to plan this journey to understand your business’ data assets.
1. Review data sources
Start with a data source(s) review. A company needs to understand what information they have and how it's been currently used. This could be product data, customer data, HR data, finance or operations data, or relative to any department in the organisation. Further, build a visual of where the data comes from, how it flows throughout the organisation's processes, and how it's consumed.
2. Analyse storage, security, and usage
Analyse how the business stores, protects, and uses the data. This means looking at the quality of stored data, the underlying data architecture, data models, the data pipelines that pull the data into the storage and assessing if all necessary data gets there. Then, assess how data is kept safe and if it's used to drive decisions.
3. Plan the roadmap
After that, work across the organisation to plan the roadmap. It’s important to pace it across phases to ensure the proper distribution of resources that would enable you to reach your North Star for data management, usage, and consumption. Be aspirational yet realistic! This plan should help the business achieve its big goals and ensure the data is used as an asset - it's kept safe, it underpins business decisions, and it provides value to the whole company. Involve people from different parts of the organisation and get their input to help develop this plan. Once you invite your primary stakeholders on this journey and let them feed in their requirements and considerations, you will likely get the necessary buy-in.
Finally, execution is vital - the plan alone won't improve the data landscape within the company. People and culture are often the most significant roadblocks when executing a data plan. Get senior stakeholders on board and have data advocates across the business. If needed, leverage modern solutions to modernise how data is used, kept, and consumed. Remember to review the plan against its milestones and key performance indicators to ensure it brings the anticipated value. Nothing is set in stone. The main goals are improving the data landscape and how the data enhances the business.
In short, a company needs to know what data it has, how it's used, make a pragmatic plan, and ensure it's working for the business. By doing this, the company sets itself up for success by maximising the value of its data assets. Data is your most critical asset - and if you haven't realised that yet, we should talk!