Digital transformation is redefining how work gets done. To enable transformation, your internal consumers need analytics to discover and apply insight as they work. Business decisions need to be informed by data in the same way that consumers use data in ecommerce: online shoppers don’t think about the data fueling recommendations and inventory management. Similarly, leading businesses deliver insight to front line workers, like a retail store that delivers insights into inventory, promotions and sales to field staff and supply chain partners.
To create meaningful change in how your enterprise uses data, front-end use of analytics insights must be paired with similar effort in data management. Afterall, digital transformation is a fundamental, enterprise-wide upgrade to the processes that deliver core value. It’s inevitable that a data management strategy provides foundational elements—like data quality, data lineage, and data governance—that are needed to support meaningful change.
The alternative is to apply data management tasks at the end of each analytics project. Some investment in data management—in the form of documentation and maintenance is required for any ongoing project. The question is whether this investment is strategic and proactive or not.
In a recent white paper, Information Builders outlines important aspects of a strong data management and analytics strategy. The paper outlines a number of considerations for creating a cohesive data management and analytics strategy:
- Management of Data – meeting all data management needs sourcing data, storing data, managing diverse data sources, creating transformations, ensuring quality, etc.
- The Value of Data Assets – focusing on the business result, rather than technology deployment.
- Stakeholder Involvement – tapping into the well of knowledge that people have of the complete data value chain.
- Empowering People to Execute Strategic Initiatives – giving stakeholders some autonomy to participate in the initiative.
- Cohesive Strategy Alignment – managing data management and analytics as a strategic initiative as opposed to local deployments.
This post illustrates these considerations using three success stories: establishing an enterprise-wide data-driven business model, replacing an aging enterprise data warehouse, and addressing data management while implementing a dashboard and visualization solution.
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A Data Management Strategy Requires Broad Participation
Your ability to deliver on your data management and analytics strategy depends on enabling people. People with knowledge about how data is collected and used need to participate in your strategy, create and refine standard best practices, and ensure wide-spread adoption of your data management and analytics strategy.
For example, Syntelli Solutions worked with a Fortune 500 health care IT leader that needed to establish a federated data management and data governance initiative, led by the organization’s new Chief Data Officer (“CDO”). The key to success was creating “chief data stewards”—the business, data, and technical people who realized value from the initiative and were therefore enlisted to help drive the initiative. The stewards represented different levels and different business units, creating a deep and broad group of people who were dedicated to the change. The initiative unlocked multi-million dollar applications in 6 business units.
Data Management Must Anticipate Future Needs
Data management must have processes that take into account change over time. To anticipates future needs, data management must follow strategic goals. For example, embedded analytics may be a strategic pillar. You may not be able to anticipate every application and activity that require embedded analytics, but with this strategic pillar, you can apply the strategy now and in the future.
Syntelli Solutions worked with a major financial institution to increase self-service, improve efficiency, and develop greater data resiliency for a capital markets team. The problem was that a legacy enterprise data warehouse (“EDW”), lacked the ability to scale and flexibility to address opportunities available with new data. Syntelli deployed a self-service platform to business users that led to faster deployment times, reduced the time-to-market on new product offerings by 60 percent, and reduced storage costs by up to 80 percent. Most importantly, the solution included a new data lake, which could manage unstructured as well as structured data, providing a flexible infrastructure for future opportunities.
Successful Data Management Keeps the End in Mind
While it seems obvious that data management should be tied to business value, as the Information Builders white paper states, “Too many organizations focus on the development of outputs – dashboards, self-service access points, infrastructure, and architecture – but don’t tie the value of internal and external data to how people consume and leverage information.” This point rings true: it’s easy to find examples of analytics projects that missed the mark because the technology became the solution.
The Syntelli approach proactively tackles challenges and identifies opportunities, rather than merely implementing technical changes. For example, a large global vendor management & staffing company needed to understand how data could help improve service delivery to customers, mitigate skills loss with turnover, build for scale, reduce current costs, and create new revenue streams. The solution did entail using technology, of course: in this case, a data lake and a TIBCO Spotfire dashboard with visualization. However, keeping an eye on the business outcomes—the ability to create new revenue streams while reducing IT management costs—delivered the peace of mind that the customer needed.
Syntelli Solutions is proud to partner with Information Builders, the industry’s most scalable software solutions for data management and analytics. Using Information Builders technology, Syntelli gives organizations the data management edge that they need to thrive in the new digital world.
Kirsten Pruitt, Client Success Manager
Communication is the key to great delivery. Kirsten joined Syntelli Solutions in 2016 to bring her delivery experience to clients’ projects and enhance our conversations about data. Prior to joining Syntelli, Kirsten spent 4 years as VP of Marketing at Healthcare Education Associates and spent another 4 years managing accounts for an advertising agency. She leverages her previous experience to help our clients in the Healthcare and Manufacturing sectors remain progressive in their thinking about what to do with their data. When Kirsten isn’t delivering awesome projects to our clients, you can find her cheering on our local Carolina Panthers!
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