The best businesses, regardless of their scale or industry, organise and deploy their proprietary information effectively. This company data is the key to unlocking more effective workflows, learning more about customers, reducing time costs, and improving the bottom line.
But this fix is more complex than it sounds – if any business leader could click their fingers and optimise their business data strategy, they would! It takes work and expert insight to outline your enterprise’s use (and misuse) of data and identify opportunities for reducing the risk of information silos and improving data governance.
Read on for more on the five components in every good business data strategy.
1. Data capture and a data warehouse
Nearly all companies will have some way of storing the masses of unprocessed data integral to business operations in every sector. From a simple spreadsheet to more advanced cloud storage, all information gathered in day-to-day processes has to go somewhere.
In the data industry, this repository of raw data is called a data lake. However, most businesses lack even this unrefined method of storage, with information silos across different platforms.
Data warehouses store integrated information from multiple, disparate, raw data sources. These systems are used for reporting and data analysis, and are core to a smarter data strategy.
Data capture tools, from providers such as Qlik, Microsoft or AWS, extract data from different sources, including cloud storage platforms and in-house apps, and integrate it in data warehouses. These tools, when deployed together, are the first steps towards pooling data into one system – a single source of truth for business leaders – for experimentation and analysis.
2. Pipelines connecting data silos
One of the most onerous tasks of building out a comprehensive business data strategy is determining how information silos interact and deciding how to transfer data between them.
Data pipelining is an area of data management consultancy focused on automating this flow of data and dictating the rules that control it to create custom data silos with specific functions.
Analytics tools, such as Microsoft Power Automate, design simple workflows based on your business requirements to ensure data analysts and decision makers can access the information they need from a single, organised source. Automating this movement of data saves businesses time and cost while also ensuring users have better quality information at their disposal.
3. Data analytics tools
Businesses may have the right data capture tools, and may have worked out the best way to move information between cloud storage platforms and information silos. However, what good is it if users cannot draw accurate insights from their data or properly visualise what it means?
Data analytics is where organisations transform masses of information, no matter how well organised and codified, from numbers and words into simple, actionable facts and opportunities.
The other essential element of a good data analytics tool is its ability to visualise this data in a way that enterprises can understand. Data dashboards are the main hub for businesses with a middling application of data analytics tools. They help data analysts to interpret data and present it to other decision makers in a more accessible way. When used correctly, these systems can be adapted to the needs of individual organisations and present data in any format.
The saying goes that “knowledge is the skills and information a person has acquired; but intelligence is the ability to apply this knowledge”. This point is equally true of business intelligence. Accurately analysing takes companies away from simply reading reams of information to cutting through to what it really means.
4. Business intelligence apps
Business intelligence apps help to apply what you learn from data analytics tools to improve internal operations. This is an advanced component of a business data strategy, and is typically only useful for enterprises that have laid down many of the other data capture, organisation and analytics measures mentioned above.
Advanced analytics tools, including platforms powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, actively adapt to and adapt business operations to scale up data use.
Take predictive analytics as an example. These advanced algorithms use historical statistics and machine learning techniques to assess the likelihood of future outcomes. Aiming to go beyond what is happening to look ahead to what might happen helps companies to plan for optimised operations and avoid costly pitfalls.
Business intelligence apps also aid with data governance. Using these platforms, business leaders can model to see how the operational use of data may change over time as the enterprise grows. This enables data governance officers to better plan for and change policies.
5. Business analysis insight
The final component of a good business data strategy is seeking expertise from outside your company. It can be very useful to step back and see data use from the outside; experienced data analysts and data management consultants can help with that. With this insight, business leaders can more easily identify their strengths and opportunities for improvement.
Business analysis insight from those in the data industry can also be useful as advisors can help you choose data analytics tools that suit your organisational needs. There are many prominent companies in the data space, including AWS, Microsoft, and Qlik, and it can be easy to choose a data tool for its name alone. However, decision makers often don’t know how this solution will fit in with their existing data processing and analytics infrastructure.
Data analysts and consultants can help to determine what dashboards and platforms will fit in with the best version of your operations. They can also help to integrate your existing data systems with out-of-the-box software or cloud storage options from leading organisations.
Working with Cast Solutions
These are all the ingredients that you need to cook up a successful business data strategy. To get it just right though, it’s best to work with business advisory services specialising in data.
Cast Solutions is an Australian data analytics and business intelligence services provider that excels in cutting to the heart of your business and working out the processes and analytics tools that you need to succeed. Contact the team today for an informal chat about how we can help.