In today’s digital age economy, it is generally understood that businesses must become data-driven enterprises to improve business performance, create sustainable value for consumers, build and run more innovative and efficient businesses to deliver unprecedented levels of performance and customer delight to remain competitive.
But how exactly does a business become a data-driven enterprise?
According to the McKinsey Global Institute report, data-driven organizations are 23 times greater likelihood of customer acquisition, 6 times as likely to retain those customers, and 19 times greater likelihood of profitability.
Data discovery is a powerful trend causing reverberations for all major industries. Data and Analytics are the buzzwords in the business world today. An increasing number of organizations today striving to inculcate a data-driven approach into their work fabric. Moreover, for a good reason. A recent Economist Intelligence Unit survey concluded that adopting a data-driven culture can put enterprises substantially ahead of their competitors and peers regarding financial gains. However, what does it mean to be a data-driven enterprise? The same survey also pointed out that the more successful companies have transformed into data-driven enterprises by working their way from the ground up, providing essential training to their workforce and inculcating a culture of data sharing at all hierarchical levels, across departments.
This means becoming a data-driven enterprise goes way beyond working with the right applications and tools. It is about making data and analytics a core part of the business strategy and operations. It is also about driving a change in mindset, so that analytics become the foundation of all business decisions at every level.
“Data can be the real goldmine for any organization if it is enabled to flow freely across the entire business ecosystem.”
Hallmark of a Data-Driven Enterprise
A data-driven enterprise is one that consciously cultivates a culture where data and analytics drive all business decisions. Such enterprises not only invest in systematically gathering huge amounts of data but also provide access to this data across departments, encouraging employees to explore, examine and embrace this information in day-to-day decision-making processes.
The business goal of a data-driven company is to integrate Analytics into the business processes to make the transactions intelligent and enable data-driven decision-making. This can either be achieved with the help of specialists who can tap the potential of Big Data or through secondary research reports. The key is to have every employee explore and exploit data independently, irrespective of the nature of their job, which can be made possible by ensuring seamless flow of information across the enterprise and enable self-service analytics for all business users.
A great deal of medium and small enterprises shy away from plunging headlong into the data culture owing to a perception that a dedicated team of data specialists is a pre-requisite to work magic with this information at hand. However, fostering a data-driven culture isn’t as much about investing humungous financial resources in data gathering and analytics as it is in integrating whatever data can be assimilated within an organization’s means into day-to-day operations.
A data-driven organization will deliver unprecedented levels of business performance
The journey to becoming a data-driven enterprise in right earnest is neither glamorous nor easy. It is often a long, drawn-out process that requires constant strategizing and monitoring at every step of the way. Believing in the integrity and importance of data is of utmost importance for a data-driven culture to permeate the work ethos at all levels.
Five steps to becoming a data-driven enterprise:
- Data Empowerment: As a data-driven culture commences to develop within the organization, it is paramount to identify and address any hindrances head on. C-Suite leadership needs to assure the right business processes are in place that allows stakeholders to raise business operation concerns about how data is being leveraged and ensure those concerns are considered, reviewed, and addressed for better decisions.
- Creating a Data Pool: The obvious first step toward setting up a data-driven company is to build a pool of meaningful data before embracing a shift in work culture. Cloud platforms are an easy, accessible and inexpensive tool for assimilating this pool of data through data mining as well as achieving meaning big data analysis through web crawling. So, collecting as much data as possible, even if all of it is not especially useful to your organization, is the basic first step toward driving a paradigm shift in work culture. The process of data collection should follow a roadmap that supports constant and consistent data assimilation until you have an enterprise data hub for the entire organization.
- Setting Tangible Goals: Setting KPI and metrics-driven business with quantified and measurable targets that can be assessed from time to time is another key element in ensuring that your strategy from bringing about a data-driven work culture stays on track. These goals will help you analyze which aspects of your strategy are working well and which ones need to be rectified. Analysis of goals also helps in creating a more detailed strategy that offers everyone involved a clear picture of the outcome.
- Maintaining Transparency of Data: Having a considerable amount of data and restricting its access to top management is counter-productive to the idea of building a data-driven enterprise. A lot of top honchos are uneasy with the idea of giving every employee access to figures that reflect the company’s performance metrics and sales in black and white but transparency and easy access lie at the very core of data-driven work culture. How else will your workforce embrace a data-driven work culture?
- Get Data Experts Onboard: Experts can be brought in to kick-start the data journey, but the ultimate goal is to build data science teams made up from a combination of resources with diverse cross-functional skill sets to perform various activities across the data lifecycle. Work within your financial resources to put together a team that can analyze the data for you and helps incorporate a technological setup that facilitates percolation of this information across different channels, departments and hierarchical levels.
Conclusion – The Path of Digital Maturity
Enabling the data-driven approach is not about incorporating a tool, a set of techniques, or even having a great team in your IT department. Data-driven organizations have had to undergo a slightly cultural shift and monetize the key data, which results in delivering the greatest value to customers and stakeholders.
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