You understand that data is the single biggest asset your company has, but is it delivering as much value as it could, or needs to? The answer to that question will be different for every company. But unless you have been very proactive about management and optimization, your data is probably not delivering as much of a competitive advantage as it’s capable of.
Here are six ways that will help you evaluate if your data could be doing more.
Is it Available on a Shared Platform?
Data that has value for some probably has value for most. That is why it needs to be shared across a single platform that spans departments and offers access to a wider base of users. If your data is currently siloed off so that only the people closest to it can take advantage of it, you are missing out on big opportunities for collaboration, cooperation, and communication.
Does it Meet the Needs of Users?
Data only has value if it can help those on your team do their job better. Unfortunately, many approaches to data neglect to consider the real needs of the user when designing features and interfaces. Worse than a confusing user experience is one that is not flexible enough to allow the user to work with the data according to his or her own needs. If you make it hard for staff to engage with your data, they will treat it like an obstacle rather than an oracle.
Are Routine Process Automated?
Effective data management is a herculean challenge, even if the pool is relatively small. In order to spend more time leveraging the value of your data and less time managing it during things like order to cash processing, as many of your routine processes as possible should be automated. This frees up your team members to focus on making progress rather than keeping pace. Plus, it eliminates a lot of the minor data errors that can throw a wrench into your system.
Can it Travel?
Data that is limited to a specific machine or a location has very limited value. When you team members are working from home, traveling for a business meeting, or face-to-face with a client they will want to have all the necessary data at their disposal. And when they make changes to that data, they should be visible to all users instantly. Mobility is a must-have feature of today’s data.
Is All Data Included?
The goals of data management are to leverage the value of all your data, not most of it. This includes sources of data both inside your company, as well as external data from suppliers, partners, and remote workers. If you are making decisions based on incomplete insightsit is almost inevitable that unwanted and unexpected forces will disrupt your plans.
Is Your Data Enhanced?
There is a lot you can do to enhance the value of your current data and all the data you collect moving forward. For instance, setting up alerts to notify you when anomalies are detected or important changes are made can help you focus your efforts in the most fruitful directions. If your data is just sitting there waiting for you it’s not doing as much as it could. The data should be organized and optimized so that it works to meet your needs rather than the other way around.
The simple way to maximize the value of your data is with tools that can give it superior form, function, and accessibility. Don’t assume that you have already reached the peak. Commit to continually improving your approach to data and you’ll put your company in a position to thrive over the long term.