The data world is constantly evolving, and in recent years, data management has become increasingly complex. It requires a variety of skills, systems, and architectures to manage effectively.
This complexity has made data management less accessible to business professionals. The volumes of data and format that it is delivered in has made it much harder for business people to get useful information. It has slowed down processes and limited the value of data for businesses.
This article breaks down two approaches to address these challenges and simplify data management. So we can empower the business team to take ownership of the information in their organisation, and become more information-driven in 2023.
Prioritise Business Information
The foundation of any information management strategy is understanding what data is available, and prioritising what is most important to the business model.
In previous years, businesses have looked to systems to create this understanding, by extracting the data created by systems, and mining it for what was useful. This worked well in the past when there were fewer systems. However, as the number of systems in use has rapidly accelerated, the volume of data has dramatically increased.
Numerous systems have resulted in a complicated information landscape, with a vast amount of data. It creates a daily struggle for business people to extract useful information for processes and reporting, slowing down business activities and creating additional work.
To address this, businesses need to document the information that is critical to the business model, and establish it as a central resource. This Central Information Layer can provide the business team with information that’s relevant and valuable to their team, enabling them to create more efficient workflows and the key insights needed for decision making.
Deliver Trustworthy, Timely Data
When there is clarity on what data is needed, the next step is to identify the most efficient, reliable way of delivering it to the business in a timely way.
When we had fewer systems, it was easy to download everything, quality check it, and create the views needed. Today, as businesses have moved to a much larger number of systems, this same approach has become time-intensive, requiring analysts to devote a large proportion of their role to integrating data components from multiple systems, and converting ‘raw’ system formatted data into a business-friendly information view.
To address this challenge we need to enable business teams to take ownership of the information that is needed and provide them with a simpler approach to data management.
A simpler approach takes inspiration from the way the traditional supply chain is managed, to streamline the workflow of sourcing ‘data components’ from many suppliers, in a way that is easy to manage and quality-assure.
Having clarity of the information that the business needs to produce enables best practices from the supply chain to be adopted. It enables business people to focus their time on the priority data components, with the end use case in mind, meaning they can be much more efficient in collaborating to get what is needed.
This ‘data supply chain approach’ is being widely applied in the data world over the past few years, and is starting to show real dividends for business teams. Our team has implemented this method successfully within a number of the industries we work with, with hugely positive results, including a 60% reduction in time spent on data work.
We’ve shared some information on the data supply chain approach on our blog over the last 12 months, or I highly recommend this article on HBR.
Data Management in 2023
In the coming year, business understanding of information will be key to driving cost effective use of data, and unlocking key business capabilities.
Advanced analytics, AI and machine learning are now at a position to provide significant gains for businesses. To get the most from these advances, it’s essential to implement an efficient, business owned process to get that information from systems.
Success for the Think Evolve Solve team in 2023 will be measured in how effective we can be in enabling business people to wrestle back control of information. We are seeing a real momentum behind business people taking more ownership when it comes to managing information, and we are really looking forward to helping them achieve this.
Need help applying these techniques?
At Think Evolve Solve, we help businesses enable their teams to better manage the information they need. We deliver practical workshops to guide combined business and technical teams to create their information layer, automate their data supply chain, and drive and deliver on digital transformation programs.
Our services team, along with our global partners, is available to support you as you enable your business teams to take control of their information and fully leverage the benefits of data for digital transformation.