Become data-driven by improving your data utilization
Do you know what data your business creates, utilizes and shares? Do you know how your business utilizes data? Our Business Development Manager Jarkko Jormanainen gives ideas how to become data-driven by focusing on your data utilization in his latest blog post.
Often, a business digitalization project faces a fundamental dilemma: how to utilize business data in its digital solutions?
Behind the dilemma lies the fact that in a typical business, the IT services provided for the business are developed gradually over the years. The best practice has been to carry out all development on a single business process phase at a time. This traditional approach focuses data utilization for the most part only within that single business process phase and the system supporting it.
In a corporation with several different lines of business, issues with data organized in silos and data processing are different across the businesses. This makes the corporate data landscape practically impossible to organize and manage. There are just too many stakeholders and they all have different objectives. Operational data utilization opportunities are usually obscured by the organizational boundaries and different business objectives.
If you want to create new business opportunities, you need to know
- what data you have, and
- the quality of that data.
This issue has been covered in a discussion by Enfo’s Martin Rydman and Mika Naatula in a video titled How can you make the most of your data assets?
You cannot utilize the data if you do not know what exactly you have, or you don’t know how to use it for your profit.
The problem with split responsibility
The role of IT management has gone from “information” to “technology”, or as per the current trend, to business. There usually aren't enough skilled staff available to manage all the aspects of the current IT landscape with a truly business-oriented, holistic approach. It’s much easier to split the whole landscape into small manageable pieces than try to handle it as a constantly changing large entity. Splitting responsibilities, especially when it comes to all the data within the company, means that in most cases it is not managed at all. The pieces are managed by different people, but not the data landscape as a whole.
The small steps development and purchasing strategy has led to the fact that all development has been done in small isolated steps. Very seldom does a company have data architecture designs anymore. Or they’re outdated and not put into use. At most, the designs are for a single system scope only.
The modern approach is to carry out very agile service and system development activities, with fast paced sprints. For all these to succeed, you would need to be able to provide them with a solid data landscape/architecture which will enable them to utilize all your data. If you have no such architecture design, your developers are forced to guesstimate or focus only on a very limited amount of data.
We need to therefore improve data utilization by improving data management.
Splitting responsibilities, especially when it comes to all the data within the company, means that in most cases it is not managed at all.
How to enable better use of data?
We at Enfo have an approach to assess and develop our customer’s data utilization. One key goal when utilizing data is to make better decisions, right?
By following a 5-step method, we can identify the level of data utilization for a single function.
At best, the data enables automation to make automatic decisions, like maintaining correct stockpile levels by placing orders to vendors. At best, the data is utilized to understand what will happen if no decision is made and what decision would change the current track to the desired track.
This level of maturity can only be achieved when we know what data to utilize for the decisions.
To enable better data utilization, take advantage of data governance: document and standardize the data lifecycle and provide company-wide (and when necessary, also ecosystem-wide) access to the data. As an added plus, you will access necessary information about how the data was created and how reliable it is, or if it has a privacy or corporate security status attached to it.
Check back for a post on data governance. In the meantime you should also take a look at what our CEO Seppo Kuula writes about the topic.
Jarkko Jormanainen works as a business development manager at Enfo