Where will you be in five years’ time?

Where will your business be in five years’ time? No matter what your aims are, your data strategy (or lack of it) will determine your success.

‘Data-led’ companies already report higher revenues and productivity. And Gartner predicts that by 2022, more than half of major new business systems will use continuous intelligence. This means systems that apply real-time context data to improve decisions. Companies that are able to use data effectively stand to benefit. Those that can’t will be left behind. What are your competitors planning?

Every business is now a data business

Every two days we create as much data as we did from the beginning of time until 2003. And yet, only 0.5% of it is analysed and used. In the era of spreadsheets and relational databases, anything that wasn’t easy to order was ignored. And the emphasis was on supplementing human instinct with data.

Technology has moved on, while the pitfalls of human bias have stayed the same. Data capacity is scalable, while human brains aren’t. This means that analytics and business intelligence will fuel future growth.

Look at today’s tech behemoths and unicorn start-ups. They’re all data-driven businesses, setting new standards and customer expectations. But it’s not just the big conglomerates that are adopting data-driven decision making. Through cloud-based systems, building a sophisticated data platform is now within the reach of many companies.

It’s true that digital transformation is complex. And it’s taking longer than expected. The Gartner Hype Cycle tracks new technologies from the peak of inflated expectations through the trough of disillusionment. However, this doesn’t mean they won’t reach the plateau of productivity – as data-driven companies are demonstrating. The journey is long, but the change to the business landscape is permanent.

Putting data at the heart of your decision-making is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s table stakes. So what can you do? Every journey starts with a step.

Starting your journey

Data strategy is business strategy. Here are some common elements for you to consider:

1. Treat data like the important business asset it is.

  • Break down the data silos
  • Create a central data store as your single source of truth
  • Centralise your business logic and metric calculations
  • Build reports once and distribute across the business
  • Leverage data for analysis and data science

Completing these steps early on will offer quick wins, in terms of reliable reporting and data integrity. Things that many companies tell us they’re struggling with.

2. Build data literacy

Gartner predicts that by 2023, data literacy will become an explicit and necessary driver of business value. And skills needed by companies are evolving.

Digital and technical skills shortages are still a concern (41% of CEOs say they’re worried about this). But people also need to understand how these systems can complement their work. For example, how to interrogate data output effectively. How to avoid assuming that system decisions are always right. Or falling back on their own biases.

Data governance and ethics around security and privacy hinge on these skills.

Final thoughts

Where will your business be in 5 years’ time? Will your data strategy work to your advantage – and competitive edge? Or will data-savvy competitors have left you far behind?

Wherever you are on your data journey, we’d love to chat. Please get in touch.