Unlimited cloud resources, cloud-based analytics and machine learning are revolutionizing business decision making and automation. However, leveraging these capabilities can be difficult for organizations rooted in decades-old legacy processes, data fiefdoms, and systems.
Many existing workflows and processes have been optimized for a traditional business model that blocks pockets of data for use by certain departments and business units, with few individuals seeing the full picture of the data. Maximizing the business value of data requires opening up access across the organization so that all decision makers, from CEO to frontline worker, are working with a single, up-to-date version of the ‘truth’ .
Technology plays an important role in creating a data-driven culture, of course. Modern analytics and machine learning tools, combined with a cloud-based data infrastructure, form the basis of a unified enterprise-wide data strategy. But the biggest success factor is the organization-wide shift to a data-driven mindset and the processes and policies that support it. These fundamental changes in how the business operates require management commitment, which includes educating the workforce about the intrinsic value of data to the business.
“The C-suite must go beyond simple support [a data-driven culture]Recently wrote Ishit Vachhrajani, AWS Business Strategist. “They need to stay engaged and involved, visibly marrying data with good business instincts to make decisions. ”
Democratize your data
The first change that business leaders need to make is to democratize data across the enterprise. Decisions, regardless of who makes them and at what level in the business, should be based on current, synchronized data that reflects all relevant variables across the organization. Democratizing data involves integrating different information silos and making data accessible, with appropriate controls, to anyone who needs to access it.
A welcome by-product of this data unification is a more collaborative corporate culture, in which departments and business units no longer jealously guard their data vaults with separate programs, expertise, and technology. In the modern data age, the corporate culture is more altruistic, in that everyone shares data for the good of the business as a whole. When you treat data as one of your business’ strategic products, you are likely to find value in bringing together groups that may never have interacted before, such as application and data engineers, and discover a new value that you hadn’t even anticipated.
Characteristics of a data-driven business
Several actions are required to achieve a data-driven mindset. They include the following:
- Treat data as an organizational asset rather than a corporate property. Create a data governance model that provides better access to data, in part by first examining how data currently flows in your organization and what access controls are in place. This helps determine the level of difficulty employees face when accessing the data they need, with a focus on the changes that are needed.
- Unify your data. To make decisions quickly, you need to connect your data lake, data warehouse, and purpose-built data stores to a secure, well-managed system. From there, data virtualization enables business users to perform interactive and multidimensional analyzes using the tools of their choice.
- Make IT a central player in the reorganized business structure. IT teams are uniquely positioned with an end-to-end view of business cycles, inter-departmental workflows, and transactional systems and, as such, should play an important role in creating your democratized, business-driven environment. the data.
- Put data to work: Data is used in analytics and ML to make better decisions, create efficiencies, and generate new innovations.
- Break down business goals into manageable pieces. “Becoming data-driven” can seem like a limitless and overwhelming endeavor. It is best to break the initiative into manageable chunks. This may involve, for example, identifying a unique data project that could serve as a springboard for others, such as migrating an on-premises application to a cloud environment. Keep adding the little successes one by one from there.
Building a data-driven organization requires leaders who recognize the value of data and analytics. They will champion the changes needed to make data fully accessible so that all employees can use it in new and profitable ways.
Learn more on how to reinvent your business with data.
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