Building a Data-Ready Enterprise

97% of C-level executives consider data as a strategic priority, only 12% believe they were ‘highly effective’ in using data strategically. The question then arises, why isn’t data being used as strategically as it rightfully should at many organizations?

There is a growing need for organizations to use data strategically – and become what we would call, Data-Ready Enterprises. Research shows that data drives profit in a data-ready enterprise because they tend to perform better financially when they are able to get the most out of their data to power their business.
 
According to “The Data Directive”, an Economist Intelligence Unit study, businesses with a less-sophisticated grasp of the strategic importance of data are experiencing lower revenue growth and reduced competitiveness. The study also highlighted that while 97% of C-level executives consider data as a strategic priority, only 12% believe they were ‘highly effective’ in using data strategically. The question then arises, why isn’t data being used as strategically as it rightfully should at many organizations?
 
Where is the disconnect?
It was discovered, in a global survey of over 200 IT executives and IT professionals commissioned by Informatica, that IT executives get the importance of working closely with business users on data-related initiatives, but rank-and-file IT professionals who manage the data day-to-day fell way behind IT executives’ grasp of how data impacts the business. Only 17.2% of IT professionals regularly consult with business leaders on data management strategies. The lack of a common data vision emphasizes the disconnect on business attitudes between IT executives and IT professionals. When a business-centric perspective is missed by the people who actually administer the data, there are clear ramifications for the organizations’ ability to use data effectively. A less well-executed data strategy impedes business competitiveness. There is a strong link between good data management and gaining a real competitive advantage.
 
Another notable research finding showed that business users are taking control of data initiatives with the emergence of next-generation analytics and self-service data management tools, potentially leaving IT in the dust. Nearly 50% of the data projects were sponsored by business units such as finance, marketing and sales. Only 20% of the data projects were sponsored directly by the CIO. Is IT at risk of being sidelined? Not at all. 81% of the enterprises surveyed have actually indicated that data projects developed without IT involvement created problems. This clearly shows the important partnership between IT and business users, where balancing IT input with business involvement in all data projects helps ensure a better chance of success.
 
How to enable the data-ready enterprise?
In a data-ready enterprise:

  • Data is clean, safe to use, and connected across systems, technologies, devices and users in a relevant and actionable way
  • Data is proactively used to improve business outcomes
  • Data infrastructure shifts flexibly to mirror changes in markets and the business

 
An organization can get the most out of their data and become a data-ready enterprise by implementing 4 imperatives:

  • Best Practice 1: Assess the current health of data quality to establish a baseline to work with and define measures to track performance against this baseline.
  • Best Practice 2: Establish and promote joint IT and business ownership on data projects. Hire people with business analysis experience into the IT team so that IT can speak the business’ language.
  • Best Practice 3: Shift towards a model where business self-service is enabled by IT who can ensure adherence to policies, while enabling the business to act more quickly on their own.
  • Best Practice 4: Anchor enterprise architecture around data, not business applications. After all, applications come and go but data lives on.

 
The transformational power of these best practices can launch a business into the right trajectory, and become profitable and successful. Indian CIOs can lead this charge.
 
The author is Country Manager for data management software company, Informatica


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