The Real Asset: Data
Updated: Jun 13
There was a time when businesses, big and small, relied solely on gut instinct and in-person customer feedback to make most of their core decisions for the organisation. In today’s data-driven corporate culture, things have changed.
Data is a privilege for modern businesses. And along with the ease of having an abundance of information on all aspects of the business at your fingertips, every enterprise has the responsibility to handle such sensitive data assets with care and ensure data security.
Increase in data dependency
The convenience of having the numbers and research available in an easy-to-use format, before making any major business decision, is undeniable. But there are pros and cons to the high dependence on data, that we see in most modern organisations.
• Pros of data dependency
Data is knowledge, and this crucial information on your market, customers, and your company’s stakeholders and employees, is your organisation’s real asset in today’s competitive business world.
The use of real-time information and pre-crunched data sets, allows large companies to make informed decisions, and choose the best options, which creates higher productivity in an organisation.
Scenario mapping done using data helps envision different paths to your desired business outcome. This leads to cost savings, and increased efficiency while avoiding expensive after-the-fact mistakes.
• Cons of data dependency
Many of the following downsides are related to the mismanagement of data, and companies taking sensitive consumer information too lightly; at times, purely due to ignorance of the rules.
Compliance with privacy laws is a large part of handling sensitive information related to customers. A lack of understanding of these can turn data into a liability and hurt a company’s reputation, as we have seen with some businesses in recent times. Having measures in place to limit fraud and prevent data theft, is essential to protecting data assets in all departments of the company.
Using data analytics to convert large swaths of irrelevant raw data into meaningful information that can be used for decision-making, is expensive and might be an unreachable goal for smaller businesses.
One of the potential downsides of relying solely on data to make decisions is, that the human gut instinct, which is an important decision-making tool for entrepreneurs, loses its value. Too much dependence on data can stunt creativity and limit opportunities, that an entrepreneur may have explored under different circumstances.
How data is driving decisions in organisations
There’s no denying the high impact of a data-driven culture in an organisation; with the operative word being - culture. Creating an environment where leaders and the workforce know the value of their data, and have a strategy in place, to use it to drive meaningful decisions for the company, is the first step. Business intelligence consulting can help companies develop strategies and processes to manage and utilise their data effectively. Here are some ways in which data helps companies make better decisions.
Real-time data is priceless since it allows the team to make tweaks and changes, before they go too deep, by committing costly company resources, in any one direction.
Analysed usable data works in conjunction with industry research, previous experiences, and beta testing to create a collaborative decision-making approach in most companies.
A data-driven culture pairs well with a growth mindset of testing, failing, iterating, and coming back with a new solution. Data is not always fail-proof, and it is meant as a guide to help in making the next best decision.
In large organisations, where each department can go in different directions while thinking through a decision, it’s important to define company-wide core priorities and create ownership for the data.
Single Source of Truth (SSOT), i.e. bringing all data in the company together in one place for all to access, and Multiple Versions of Truth (MVOT), i.e. the business-specific transformation of data, are becoming important data management strategies.
Companies know the value of providing employees with the tools and training required, to run compliant data management systems and automation, to help them make more data-driven decisions. Business intelligence consulting can help companies develop strategies to train and equip their employees to manage and utilise data effectively.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used to create useful industry-specific statistical databases, that can be put to use by everyone within that industry.
Importance of data security in business
The importance of data security in today's fast-paced business environment cannot be overstated. Any business in every industry is called upon to take onus for the data that runs through their hands, and with good reason. So what should a company do to develop better data culture?
Cloud-based solutions for data security, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), are a requirement for growing organisations that want to protect their data the right way.
In addition, the company should designate a Chief Data Officer (CDO) to oversee its data security. Manage data, ensure compliance with regulations and standards, and set up a Single Source of Truth(SSOT) for the company by creating employee tiers that can access relevant levels of data. Setting up audits and real-time alerts, assessing risks, and purging irrelevant data are all necessary data security features within an enterprise.
When used with integrity, data can be a real asset, a tool for businesses to make better decisions, that serve all the stakeholders, including customers, employees, and shareholders. Protecting one’s data fiercely is not just a legal requirement for a business, but a moral obligation. Ensuring data security in business is essential for maintaining trust and protecting valuable information.