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data driven organisation

The data-driven organization: aligning business and data

According to several studies, data-driven organizations are financially healthier, more profitable and retain more customers than organizations that fail to leverage the opportunities of data. Making your business data-driven doesn’t happen overnight, though. It requires a careful alignment of business processes and data. In this article, we’ll explore how to get started. 

The majority of companies today treat data as a logical byproduct of their business transactions executed trough their IT applications. This is the traditional ‘application-centric’ way of thinking. Becoming a data-driven organization requires you to switch to a ‘data-centric’ way of thinking.


 data driven organization

Data outlives applications

There’s a solid underlying logic to making this switch. While applications are subject to change and updated frequently, enterprise data remains. This means that you’ll need to think long-term and strategize about how your business can leverage that data. So instead of aliging our business and applications (application-centric approach), we need to align our business with our data (data-centric approach).

From mission to data-driven decisions

 data driven organization

The image above illustrates the typical set-up of a data-driven organization.
1. An organization translates its mission and vision into a business strategy, which is reflected into specific business processes.
2. These business processes require decision-making: how much do I need to order? What is the ideal pricing? Etc. Making the right decisions is essential to obtaining the goals set in your strategy.
3. A data-driven organization has rooted its decision-making processes in data. Optimal decisions equals optimal results. To achieve this, aligning business processes with data processes is mission critical.

Bridging the gap in 3 steps

1. Define your business processes, and model them into business process diagrams. This will allow you to easily spot opportunities where high quality data at the right time, at the right person(s) in the right format can make it easier to make the right decision(s).
2. Enable and maintain high-quality data. This means having the processes and technology to manage the data and most importantly the people to take ownership of the data.
3. Set priorities in accordance with your strategy: which decisions have the greatest impact and thus need to be optimized most urgently? For example, if your focus is operational excellence, you’ll need to find opportunities to improve supply chain management decisions. This can be a starting point to transform your core business processes based on data.
Author: David Loos. Do you wish to turn your business into a data-driven organization? Get in touch with David via LinkedIn, Twittere-mail or simply book an appointment.