How to Avoid Inefficiencies and Engender Trust in a Data-Driven Enterprise
Businesses must get better outcomes faster amid the pandemic. Here's how they can do it.
- By Felix Van de Maele
- November 17, 2020
New realities in light of COVID-19 have caused many of us to reimagine our businesses, industries, and lives. As we try to find our way through this period, trusted data can be our guide. Using the right data in the right way will make us safer, stronger, and more secure.
This global health crisis and data related to the pandemic have made the average person much more aware of data. Although trusted data helps us identify, build, and enact the most effective solutions, bad or inaccurate data can create -- or add fuel to -- an environment of mistrust.
However, it is possible for organizations to get a 360-degree view of their data so they have clarity on what data resides where, what data they can trust, understand how it can be used, and can comply with the ever-growing list of data privacy and protection regulations.
The current landscape may seem scary, but seeds of hope are everywhere. This is the time for data citizens to deliver. It isn't easy, especially when we can't connect face to face, but trusted data and effective data workflows can help us meet the moment and prepare for the future.
The Traditional Approach to Dealing with Data Is No Longer Sufficient
Data is at the core of all businesses, but easy access to trusted data can be a real challenge.
Imagine that a business analyst is investigating how COVID-19 is impacting churn on a specific customer segment. The analyst's first step would be to find the right data sources.
However, because data lives in silos, the analyst would need to interface with people from the finance, marketing, product, and sales teams to get the needed data. As the data comes in, the analyst would have to work long and hard to understand what the data means, what the right source is, and whether it's acceptable to use and/or link data from various sources.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this traditional approach to data is that there's a high likelihood that another analyst is looking for the exact same dataset. Instead of reusing the work that has already been done, chances are that the entire process will start all over again.
This is extremely inefficient, and there's no time for that now. It can take days or weeks to get to the right data, and it involves a large number of people -- taking away attention from their key jobs. Worse yet, the result from this painful process is an outcome that people may not even trust. They second-guess the result, risking that the work will be in vain.
Expediting the Path to Intelligence and Action
To create better outcomes for a better world, organizations need to use data efficiently and effectively. The only way to get there is for organizations to facilitate the necessary collaboration across data or organizational silos to get to outcomes faster.
Organizations can do that by building a strong, data-centric foundation that gives their teams access to trusted data. Companies can then connect data and insights to their people and processes to make critical decisions quickly and with confidence. This will enable them to weather this difficult business environment, move on to new opportunities and prepare for a brighter future.
To make this happen, it's helpful to have a chief data officer (CDO) aboard to drive the mindset that data is a key asset from which everyone in the enterprise can and should benefit. The CDO can champion data intelligence, which enables people to securely access data that they can trust.
The Push for Data Intelligent Businesses
The good news is that some of the world's largest companies are already data intelligent, relying on trusted data to lead through this crisis. This is happening across all sectors.
One of our largest banking customers, for example, is driving efficiencies across its entire enterprise by identifying and replacing multiple systems that do the same thing. It is also breaking down barriers for all data citizens to find, trust, understand, and collaborate with its data. This company is leading an effort to reduce costs and simplify data processes, focusing on the value derived from metadata by streamlining business processes and breaking down silos. At the same time, this firm is accelerating its cloud adoption to realize even more efficiencies. Meanwhile, a leading telecommunications provider is focused on enabling its customer-obsessed culture with data. With a data landscape of more than 3,000 systems, this company has made it easier for employees to find and use its strategic data to realize massive productivity gains. By automating the protection and identification of customer data, the telco has improved adherence to regulations while decreasing risk and protecting its brand.
The benefits of platforms that allow employees to locate, access, understand, and act on trusted data in a secure environment are endless. Data intelligence based on trusted data enables organizations to lower costs, realize new efficiencies, and deliver better customer experiences. It builds customer trust, expedites innovation, streamlines compliance, supports automation and scalability, and positions companies to be more competitive and resilient.
That's never been more important.
Felix Van de Maele has led Collibra for more than 10 years and is responsible for global business strategy. Prior to cofounding Collibra, he served as a researcher at the Semantics Technology and Applications Research Laboratory (STARLab) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, where he focused on ontology-focused crawlers for the semantic web and semantic data integration. He holds a master’s in computer science and software engineering from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and a master’s in general management from the Vlerick Business School. In 2019, Felix was named the EY Technology Entrepreneur of the Year in New York. You can reach Felix on LinkedIn and Twitter.