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Behind the buzzword: A guide to ‘data products’

There’s a lot of intel out there on how to get the most of your data. So much so, that some days it’s difficult to navigate the buzzwords and trends

In this article, we’re cutting through the confusion to explain some core data concepts and explain how to use the ‘product’ method to connect data solutions to the business tasks that are completed, so you can increase company productivity and performance. 

What are data products?

A data product is a specific process or solution that uses data to address a specific need. Google flight alerts are a perfect example of a data product as they use data to notify consumers via email when flights of interest drop in price. It’s a great ‘data product’ because it’s completely aligned with the user’s needs, delivering precise information via a method that’s time-sensitive and on-demand.

Is that different from treating data as a product?

The difference is minor. ‘Treating data as a product’ is a way to think about the opportunities where data can create value. ‘Data product’ is a term for the solution that is created to realise this opportunity.

How does this relate to my business?

Companies are looking for ways to use data to improve their business functions. However, many companies have evolved to think of data as something completely separate from the day-to-day running of their business – a by-product, owned by the tech team .

This can lead to a failure to become ‘data-driven’ because they stop thinking about data as a ‘product’ that supports them. The solution? Treat data as a product, and focus on the value that it drives for the people in your organisaiton. 

By  treating data as a product, we connect the people building data solutions and the people using them. 

Every unit in a business uses data with different goals in mind, whether it be the marketing team or the finance team. To figure out what data products a particular team needs, we need to start by identifying the information that would be valuable for that team to have. The next step is figuring out how to share that information in the most valuable way. Considering the best timing, and method to share this information is critical at this point. Once you have done this, you now have a basic scope for a ‘data product’ for the tech team to deliver on.

The Outcome

This ‘data product’ view leads to better quality data and saves time, as business people aren’t getting lost in irrelevant data and tech teams don’t have to spend as much time supporting the teams. 

Treating data as a product is just one step on the path to a data-driven organisation, however, there is so much more to be done. One of the biggest factors in the success of a data strategy is how effectively the business and data teams are able to work together. Data-driveness requires cooperation and coordination between multiple business units which can be difficult when there is a gap in knowledge between teams. Data products bridge this gap by connecting technical teams and business teams in a simple, understandable way. 

So what now? Now that you know about data products, it’s time to use them. Start by thinking about each of your teams, what information they use today and what information would be useful for them to have.  The important thing is to consider the end user and build the solutions to serve the people in your organisation.

Need support in becoming data-driven? Our expert team can help you build a data strategy, create a data framework or deliver data products for your organisation. Speak to a member of our team today for more information.

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