Data as an asset: leveraging the full power of data management

Oct 25, 2017
  • IT
  • automotive
  • chemicals
  • Microsoft

Companies are increasingly aware of the importance of data. Many, however, still perceive data management as the IT department’s responsibility. As a result, there is little to no governance over how data is created or used outside of IT. In a world where customers expect consistency and privacy laws (GDPR) are growing more stringent, this can have far-reaching consequences. A typical scenario are users gathering and analyzing data with their own tools, only to complain about data quality to IT later on. It’s high-time to explore another approach.

The way data is managed today has evolved historically. When process automation began, the focus was application or platform-centric. The processing of data was nothing more than a consequence of automation. Today, however, things have become more complex: the advent of Industry 4.0, best-of-breed solutions and hybrid architectures in combination with the new capabilities big data and data science have to offer has made companies aware of the importance and value of data, not only for internal processes, but also in function of external interactions.

The cost of scattered data

The IT-centric approach, however, traditionally focused on operational matters: making sure the databases are performing and the applications are running. Outside of IT, however, there is little to no insight into how data is created or used. As a question, the ‘who does what with which data’ is never really under control.

At the same time, with the increasing importance of analytics and data science, the data requirements of the business are rapidly increasing. If no effective data governance is in place on how data is delivered to data consumers, people start fulfilling their data needs by themselves. The result is that data is floating around in the organization, which makes it hard to find the right piece of information at the right time.

In the meantime, customers are expecting a consistent user experience across all channels. What’s more, GDPR and ‘the right to be forgotten’ will pose major problems for companies without adequate data governance.

Treating data as an asset

The solution? Treat data as an asset, not only in words, but also in deeds. This comes down to three things:

  • Recognize that data is not only the IT department’s responsibility. Rethink your leadership within the business in function of proper data governance. Set up the necessary organizational structures and authorizations to empower data management.
  • Formulate a clear vision on how data should be managed in a data strategy. A team of experts at delaware has created a proven approach to determine your data strategy.
  • Identify initiatives to boost the way data is managed, including clear-cut processes, procedures and guidelines, and security protocols.

There is a lot to gain from better data management. For instance, it triggers opportunities to automate processes like capturing, managing, and transforming information. For instance, users often spend many hours to gather data from different sources and improve its quality, while the actual analysis only takes a short amount of time. As a result, these kinds of analysis are only performed once or twice per year. The existence of a central source of truth and a common vocabulary will improve communication and collaboration.

Finally, remember that information is power. Using data in an effective way empowers business users, provides new insights, and might even result in new business models.

Author: Edel Boone.

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