Monday, December 30, 2019

Companies Succeed When They Treat Data as an Asset

It is not enough to just collect data anymore-- successful companies have realized that they have got to do something with it as well. By analyzing data, many businesses can make better decisions, and by using it to tweak or alter their processes-- can create a better product or provide a better service for their customers. Data is a powerful tool when it is managed correctly-- when companies treat it as an integral part of their business plans, the results have been good. But businesses need to make sure they have the right processes in place and create a mindset amongst their employees to appropriately manage and handle data. 

In this article we’re going to discuss:

  • How data creates value for businesses
  • The challenges of data management
  • How data has transformed decision making on a daily basis

Using Data to Create Value

Having access to data statistics is extremely valuable to companies who want to learn how they can perform better-- it gives them a glimpse of what is working and what processes might need to be reviewed. Traditionally, most companies would track their profitability, costs, expenses, and productivity. This can give management a view of where the company stands as far as their profits and losses-- but data can help businesses do so much more. By collecting data across different platforms, companies can now track even more data on productivity for example-- such as output or maintenance costs-- and figure that into their profitability prediction.

By utilizing data from multiple sources, the solutions appear to be much more nuanced and customized to a particular problem. Data such as this can be coupled with more traditional data collected to help create a predictive system-- by which analyzing a set of circumstances can determine whether or not a certain process or product will prove profitable. This can impact future decisions of the company and allow them to continue to adapt according to their various business needs. 

laptop, phone, coffee, and books on table
Companies are realizing that just collecting and storing data is no way to enter the future. By making data management and analysis a part of their company culture, they are ensuring their decisions are made with best possible information.

Challenges of Data Management

Companies collect data because they seek solutions to problems-- and business initiatives are still the leading driver of why companies track data. But if data can be used to solve one problem, could it also be useful to assist other aspects of the organization with their own issues? If data could be shared with different departments, perhaps the same data would be useful to them as well. However, some companies are not set up with the proper culture that would allow the easy transfer of data. Bringing the whole company on board with data use and management would make a world of difference, and would allow more people access to data that would be helpful to their own separate needs.

However, sometimes there are more technical problems that develop when it comes to sharing and managing data across an organization. One department might store it in a certain format over the other-- or need it encrypted or not. Some data is just not useful to other parts of the company and do not have any further value than what problem the were collected to solve.  

How can data work across a company?

Data is collected by different parts of a company, and each one has their own way of storing and sharing it. Companies today are finding that they have a lot of data, but are not sure how to go back and utilize it. Moving forward, they need to design a process that will take care of this from the start-- so that going in, a department knows exactly what it is that this data is going to be used for.

Instead of collecting data from different sources and putting the pieces together to solve the problem at the end, successful companies are using their data to create a system that will have the problem in mind from the start-- this would enable the data to be used across different platforms to each solve a specific customer need or business objective.

laptop and notepad by coffee on table
The digital transformation has given companies a whole new set of data by which to base their future endeavors and decisions.

Digital Transformation

Across many industries, there is a transformation going on with regards to data management. The data that they are storing should be accessible to anyone in the organization who would use its information to solve their issues. When key people in different departments are allowed to view and analyze trends in the data, they can start to use it to develop solutions to their own problems. It would also give management better insight on trends and allow them to adjust their goals or processes accordingly.

A lot of companies are interested in ways they can improve customer service or their engagement with their clients. This is not a tangible good, but rather something that can be tracked based on their experiences dealing with the company in an increasingly digital manner.   Using data gathered for this type of issue can be used throughout the organization. In order to improve in those areas, many businesses are interested in knowing how customers feel. This can lead to deciding whether or not to embark on certain initiatives or other opportunities.

Data transformation

In order to better manage data, companies should create a well functioning data platform-- where the data they collect can be stored and directed to the proper channel. It should support different applications so that data that arrives from a variety of sources can easily be added. By having a place for data to be sent out to the correct application will allow the system to keep collecting data while simultaneously moving it out to the correct location with less of a lag.

Company transformation

Companies have realized that treating data as an asset to be managed by everyone is the key to success. They have entrusted their data overhauls to chief data officers and chief digital officers, who are responsible for identifying processes that would aid in the digital transformation. They also actively teach other employees how to manage and work with data, which creates a whole culture that values data as an asset.

When employees realize that it is not just their data-- but the company’s data-- then you see a collective effort to manage and use data more effectively. When everyone realizes that data can help them solve their own priorities-- but also the issues of another company department-- then you see a more concerted effort to balance their needs with the needs of the company as a whole.

code on computer
Advances in artificial intelligence allows companies to track and analyze data in large volumes-- and frees up employees to monitor and analyze data that requires more in depth analysis.

Managing Data on a Daily Basis

Data needs and consumption are higher than ever-- it simply no longer makes sense to collect and store it, and have it spot checked by a small team of data experts. Instead, companies are now opting to have data management a part of the job of many people-- those that are closest to the data and understand it the best. This way, those that know the data are responsible for cleaning it up in a consistent manner and can direct its use from the beginning-- as opposed to after the fact.

Is there a use for AI?

A lot of data is already being employed for large volumes and repetitive data management tasks. It is no longer practical or efficient for a human to do analyze data for a certain set of parameters, and artificial intelligence is a great way for companies to analyze and track the specifics of their data.

It still makes sense to have people close to the data and know its context to oversee and monitor the AI systems-- but repetitive tasks are much better suited to a computer or machine-learning techniques. Analysis that requires a judgment-based call or if there is a problem or anomaly with the data still requires the oversight of a person-- and having someone that knows what to look for and understands the data’s use is still extremely helpful. 

Leading companies are developing better approaches to managing their data, and incorporating it into their decisions. Having access to all kinds of data has allowed successful business to really take a hard look at how they can improve their systems and produce a better service or product. When companies continue to treat data as an integral part of their operating plan, they can expect great results.

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