Maximising the business value of data

In today’s volatile economic and geopolitical climate, companies must harness the power of data to safeguard their future operations. However, business leaders and IT departments need to work in close partnership to build robust data management infrastructures.

By combining forces, business leaders and IT professionals are well-positioned to create a buffer against marketplace fluctuations while securing a strategic edge. Effective data use enables organisations to anticipate market trends, make informed decisions, and drive innovation with insight – all crucial for achieving commercial success.

As such, business and IT leaders must prioritise the following five key areas to ensure data-driven initiatives yield optimal results.

Align business objectives with data management strategy

Effective data management is vital to an organisation’s strategic framework, especially in our knowledge economy. Progressive companies intertwine their data practices with business objectives, creating a symbiosis that fosters growth.

A data-focused strategy emerges through close collaboration between business executives and IT experts, propelling the achievement of KPIs, market expansion, and customer experience improvement. Fundamental to this tactic is a unified vision across company ranks that recognises data’s role in steering success. This aligned approach creates business-centric data collection, analysis, and application processes, which in turn supports leadership teams with true data intelligence.

Building a robust data management infrastructure

Every modern enterprise needs a robust data management framework. A scalable, resilient, and flexible data architecture enables prompt responses to economic shifts and gives organisations a steady foundation from which to adjust their data handling capabilities easily.

Central to this is cloud computing technology, which offers scalability, access, and redundancy and is vital for rapidly growing businesses with increasingly remote teams and the need to ensure continuous operations. The goal is a resilient and responsive data management system poised to help the organisation seize market opportunities with precision and speed.

Cloud data management offers additional benefits, including superior analytics, security measures and governance, enhanced data quality, quick discovery, and effective metadata consolidation. It also plays a key role in facilitating the idea of a unified data platform – one which brings together master data across different systems into a highly reliable, real-time single source of truth.

Sustaining data quality through solid governance structures

At the heart of delivering dependable, high-calibre data lies effective data governance, ensuring uniformity, integrity, and regulatory compliance. In contrast, poorly managed and disorganised data can lead to database errors, ambiguities, and security vulnerabilities. Thus, companies must craft clear policies, uphold stringent data quality protocols, and appoint stewards to maintain data accuracy throughout its lifecycle.

A sound governance strategy transforms data into a robust asset for informed decision-making, shielding an organisation from legal and regulatory risks. Governance tools set the bar for quality standards and aid in organising data and managing metadata, simplifying compliance evidence, and reinforcing end-user trust in data-driven approaches.

Before implementing a new data governance strategy, business-wide consensus and the right tools must be obtained. It’s crucial to align stakeholders from various departments around a common vision for management, oversight, and data use. This agreement streamlines operations, fostering a collaborative environment. In this context, selecting a user-friendly, cooperative, and versatile data governance tool becomes vital – one that can accommodate the evolving demands of a dynamic business landscape.

Utilising AI and business intelligence tools

Artificial intelligence (AI) and business intelligence (BI) aren’t fads – they offer considerable capability to transform data management and analytics. By leveraging cutting-edge tools, like advanced algorithms and machine learning, businesses can unlock predictive insights into market shifts and consumer patterns, establishing a strategic advantage.

AI scrutinises extensive datasets for hidden patterns and opportunities, empowering organisations to fine-tune innovation and decision-making processes. BI tools, meanwhile, provide a detailed examination of company operations, revealing opportunities for cost-efficiency and improved service delivery, for example.

However, AI’s efficiency hinges on the quality of the underlying data. Prior to integrating AI, it’s crucial to lay a solid data foundation by ensuring the information is structured, accurate, and functional. This foundation enhances AI’s capabilities, streamlining rather than complicating operational functions. It also ensures that any AI use cases, like quality assurance and customer experience, are effective and insightful.

Developing this robust data infrastructure involves four critical steps:

• Enforcing meticulous data cleansing procedures
• Investing in a comprehensive master data management (MDM) system
• Establishing strict data governance rules
• Prioritising cybersecurity and data privacy to mitigate potential threats.

Applied with dexterity, AI and BI serve as dynamic tools for hands-on strategy development and decision-making, offering a data-informed outlook on future developments.

Measuring data management ROI

In a cost-conscious world, companies must validate the financial viability of their investments in data management. Establishing quantifiable performance metrics and tracking them against the investment allows organisations to gauge the success and ROI of their data management initiatives.

These metrics could include:

• Revenue increases
• Cost reduction
• Process error reduction
• Operational improvements
• Number of compliance issues resolved
• Data quality improvements

Thriving with better data management

Implementing thorough data management strategies, underpinned by the right technologies, goes beyond preserving a competitive edge – it’s about securing survival and prospering in an ever-changing global landscape. Companies that acknowledge the crucial role of a data-driven approach in fostering resilience are poised to emerge as future trailblazers.

Andy Baillie
+ posts

Andy Baillie is VP, UK & Ireland at data management specialists, Semarchy. Andy has previously held leadership roles at B2B SaaS companies such as IBM, DocuSign, and Seismic.

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