The Value of Data Strategy in Your Digital Transformation Plan, Part 2

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Part 1 of this series covered the importance of developing a data strategy to harness the power of quality data in all facets of your organization. A data strategy is becoming increasingly critical in driving business value in technology investments including IoT, ERP, AI, and ML. Part 2 addresses how data drives automation, how to develop a data strategy action plan, and the importance of data security in this plan.

Data drives automation, which is fundamentally changing how businesses operate
Now that we have entered the fourth Industrial Revolution, data is playing a vital role in automation. As more data is added from daily operations in organizations, automation processes will continue increasing and machines will replace activities from workers across many industries.

According to the WEF (World Economic Forum) on the Future of Jobs Report 2018, by 2022, 62 percent of organizational information, data processing, information search, and transmission tasks will be performed by machines, compared to 46 percent today. Nearly 50 percent of companies expect that automation will lead to some reduction in their full-time workforce, based on the job profiles of their employee bases today.

Your data strategy action plan
Data is becoming a central asset to all digital initiatives, and leveraging its power begins with a data strategy for improving decision making and generating efficiencies in operations. A plan of action is needed for using the data for valuable business insights. Therefore, every business needs a comprehensive data strategy. Management leadership is ultimately responsible for transforming data into a company-wide asset.

There are many different types of data, from internal and external sources, structured and unstructured. Leaders in your organization must understand how to match data sets that it can capture with specific business needs. This data expertise can enable your company to reach its strategic goals. Different data sets may be needed for learning about customer trends and behaviors in order to increase sales and profits. Other data sets are instrumental in improving daily operations for optimizing business processes or for generating internal efficiencies in functional departments. Having the right talent assigned to the each part of the data strategy project in the organization is a key factor for the successful implementation as well.

Turning data into better business decisions
Once you have enough data and clear objectives for achieving your company’s strategic goals, then it is time to turn data into insights and actions for better decisions. Analytics is the next step for ensuring your business profits from data sets by organizing and tailoring data in a clear and concise way for achieving key indicators. There are many analytics tools in the market that companies need to investigate in order to match with specific business objectives. Databases are not always structured, but there are affordable software and hardware tools designed to help with your data strategy organization and analysis. Many companies offer products and services in the cloud with storage and analytic capabilities to protect your data. As new technologies emerge in the market, these services will become more cost-effective, enabling smaller organizations to reap benefits that may yet not be available to them.

No data strategy is complete without strong security
Securing your company data at all times is essential for your organization. According to the VIPRE-commissioned survey of 250 SMB IT managers during 2017, 66 percent of SMBs would either go out of business completely or be forced to shut down for at least a day as a result of hacks into computer systems.

As an example of how companies are vulnerable to data attacks, in 2017 Target paid $18.5M for a 2015 data breach that affected 41 million of its customers. Many recent statistics demonstrate a potentially catastrophic impact for companies affected by data breaches, so data security needs to be paramount when establishing a company data strategy. Partnering with third-party suppliers with reliable infrastructure in place for protecting your data, having backup plans, creating disaster recovery policies, and providing data access only to key personnel in the organization helps companies to alleviate data breaches.

Finally, a data strategy is also a company-wide approach. Company leadership teams that understand the value of data need to communicate the importance of the data strategy to other layers within the organization for a better understanding of how it benefits the business and employees. A data strategy has no limitations and can evolve to help achieve new business objectives or transform practices based on business needs.

In the end, an intelligent data strategy can help organizations to be more productive, optimize customer service, decrease operational costs, improve employee satisfaction, and provide more innovative products that can positively impact company profitability.

See how ECI's Cloud ERP Software uses data driven solutions.

Christian Polo Orellana

About the Author

Christian Polo Orellana serves as a regional sales executive for ECI Software Solutions. He is a competent visionary and leader with more than 20 years of progressive experience in the areas of digital technologies, business strategy, and innovation in various industries.