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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

Don’t Get Left Behind: How to Adopt Data-Driven Principles

Promoting the use of data can give your enterprise the edge it needs.

The term “data-driven” has become a popular buzzword for a good reason: data-driven businesses reap an advantage over those that don’t embrace the practice.

For Further Reading:

Beyond Spreadsheets: How Data-Driven Organizations Outperform the Rest 

Maximizing Business Value Through Data and AI Tops List of Data Management Trends for 2024

5 Key Considerations for Data Management Success

Chief digital officers know this; seven out of 10 say they spend one-fifth of their efforts or more merely building a data-driven culture in their organizations. More than half say they are building data literacy and change management programs to foster a data-driven culture within their organizations. Midsize organizations must level up or risk being left behind.

The Benefits of Being Data-Driven According to one survey, 79% of organizations have seen an increase in the number of individuals who require data for their decision-making. Becoming data-driven can transform an enterprise, making it more agile and efficient and, most important, generating noticeably better returns. There are several reasons for this.

Improved decision-making. Data can provide tangible guideposts for making smarter business decisions based on measurable benchmarks and numbers rather than gut instinct. It spurs innovation and business growth by helping identify new opportunities. In addition, data crunching and predictive analytics can help an organization anticipate and remediate issues to improve its risk management posture.

Efficiency and productivity. Operational analytics can optimize processes to improve productivity and profitability, giving a direct boost to the bottom line by driving revenue gains and cost reductions. With real-time analytics and data-driven insights, an organization can improve its agility and responsiveness to market changes. Additionally, using workforce analytics to optimize decisions (such as hiring and staff development) can increase employee productivity and cut costs.

Competitive advantages. Real-time data analytics can help hone a market edge to outperform peers and competitors. Leveraging customer behavior data can enhance the user experience, improve customer satisfaction, and boost loyalty. McKinsey studies have shown personalization can shrink customer acquisition costs by up to 50% and improve revenues as much as 15%. Meanwhile, data-driven customer insights can lead to tailored products, services, and marketing to achieve significantly higher return on investment.

Becoming a Data-Driven Organization

Every business function, from marketing to logistics and procurement, can be transformed using data. However, the same survey that found eight in 10 organizations felt the pressure to be data-driven found only 4% of organizations today can gain insights from their data in real time; 45% said it can take weeks.

Culture change remains the biggest hurdle to data-driven transformation. The disruption inherent in this evolution can put off some key stakeholders, but a few common-sense steps can guide your organization to tackle it successfully,

Read the room. Executive buy-in is crucial to building a data-driven culture. Leadership must get behind the move so the rank-and-file will dedicate the time and effort needed to make the pivot.

Map the landscape. You can’t change what you don’t know. Start by assessing the state of the organization: find the gaps in the existing data infrastructure and forecast any future analytics needs so you can plan for them.

Evaluate your options. Building business intelligence (BI) and artificial intelligence (AI) systems from scratch is labor- and resource-intensive. One poll found 57% of CDOs said they have not yet made the adjustments needed to support AI in their organizations. However, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel; consider leveraging managed services to deal with scale and adaptation issues and ask for guidance from your provider’s data architects and scientists.

Think single-source. Fragmentation detracts from the usefulness of data and can mask insights that would be available with better visibility. Implement integrated platforms that provide secure and scalable data pipelines, storage, and insights from end to end.

Pick your spots. A wholesale transformation can become unmanageable in a midsize organization. Instead, phase in data-driven development by focusing on individual initiatives around high-impact business use cases with clear ROI. This will be more manageable and will help rack up early wins that build confidence in the overall project and win more buy-in and advocates among the groups involved before moving on to the next.

Make insights accessible. Many CDOs have noted that they are changing their data strategy from a governance focus to culture-building, and creating a data-driven culture means the focus on data must trickle down throughout the organization. It’s important to encourage data literacy across functions and empower staff with access to self-service analytics.

Final Thoughts

Whether you build or buy a data management platform, the capacity for data-driven insights can be a game changer, especially for midsize enterprises competing with large, deep-pocketed rivals. One study found businesses that were more data-driven had 3.2 times higher revenue and 2.4 times higher profits than less data-driven companies.

The results speak for themselves; the only question is how to begin the journey. Making a commitment to data-driven operations and finding the right partner to enable cultural change is a good place to start.

About the Author

Abdul Altamimi is founder, president, and chief technology officer of RestorePoint and a recognized industry expert in data management, data protection, and managed services. He is responsible for RestorePoint’s overall architecture, operational solutions, innovation, technology road map, and investments. Abdul has more than 30 years of experience in global IT services operations. He works closely with RestorePoint’s technology partners to deliver custom-managed secure DataOps services for midsize organizations.

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