written by Lisa M. Schwartz @leeza2020
If you haven’t seen the video Three Laws of Data Capital by Paul Sonderegger, you should view it – but only after you read this! He states that: data comes from activity and you need to capture the activity when it happens and be party to it or it is lost forever. Data tends to make more data, and platforms tend to win. Definitely interesting and he states that data is similar to a form of financial capital.
Today, we know that with business intelligence tools, enterprise analytics and Big Data analytics, we can enable businesses to have some insight into their own data and even combine externally sourced data from data-as-a-service providers and other big data providers. This externally sourced data can bring in real-time views of events from IoT sensors, GPS locational data, and from cloud databases accessing all the world’s knowledge to enrich and complement our in-house transactional data.
Yet having access to all this data can be overwhelming. Some businesses don’t know where to begin to make a business case for initiatives to study their own data, let alone bring in big data from the outside world and use it. In a study conducted by Capgemini Consulting in 2015, surveying 226 analytics, IT and business professionals, 39% said that they had difficulty understanding the right business questions and making a sound business case for further examination and use of big data.
So how do you get your arms around this Big Data conundrum? Where do you start to unlock that value of data capital that makes a real difference for your business?
Here are 5 steps to start the process:
#1 - Create a unified data organization
Have you taken a data driven approach to your business? Have you taken steps to ensure the quality and governance of data WITHIN your own company? Do you have a Chief Data Officer whose charter is to create a unified data organization that looks after your data capital?
#2 - Use a secure, standards based cloud applications and cloud platform
Does your IT architecture employ a standards based approach between your cloud platform, your cloud applications and on-premises systems to help enable a unified and secure data organization wherever your data is located?
#3 - Identify and measure data driven metrics that will radically improve KEY business processes
Have you made a business case for the use of data to improve your business? What metrics do you need to improve to move the needle in a big way for your company? Does the data exist in your company today to populate these metrics? If so, where are the sources?
Example A: If you are a service based company, are you mining social data and transactional data to understand real time complaints as well as the complaints against the competition? Complaints are the holy grail of service. Improve on a problem, you’ll get customer advocates and reduced costs.
Example B: If you are an inventory based company, are you getting your product out the door quickly and in the hands of distributors/consumers most efficiently? How can you use IoT or other data sources to help identify problems in manufacturing, logistics and shipping, and look for new patterns from data to improve?
These are just two examples. The key is to look for the data and metrics that you could use today to improve a key business process. Then make a business case to figure out how to get that data. The data most likely exists somewhere!
#4 - Make a sensible business case for using data driven metrics with associated costs and gains
In making the business case to unlock the value of data capital for your business, identify all costs associated with collecting, cleansing, unifying and analyzing the data and the expected gains. However, if the costs far exceed the improvement you expect, you may need to examine alternatives or you may not be measuring for improvement in the most needed areas of your business.
#5 - Use intuitive, cloud based, business analytics and visualization tools to quickly gain new knowledge quickly about customers, audiences, suppliers and business processes
Consider using secure, cloud based, business analytics and visualization tools to analyze massive amounts of data quickly. Often using the cloud, to do “what-if” analysis on mashups of your data and 3rd party data, is the most cost effective and the safest, as you won’t impact productions systems or executive dashboards. With the cloud, you don’t need to purchase new servers and manage data infrastructure in-house. And, you can turn off the cloud service when it is no longer needed.
In summary, we are no longer limited by slow processing speeds of big data. Terabytes+ of data can be processed in seconds and answers are literally at our fingertips. Today, our charge is to become even more data driven with advanced technology.
To get there, we must take the steps necessary to use and unify internal and external data sources to optimize service and business models. With this, we can make greater gains toward managing our data capital as wisely as we manage our financial capital.