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From Insight to Action – How to Build a Data-Driven Business 

In a world where industry disruption happens daily, growth-minded organizations are walking a theoretical tightrope, balancing business continuity and transformation with operational excellence and expenditure to stand out in highly competitive markets. And the key to maintaining equilibrium and momentum – is data. 

While data without context provides little value, when used appropriately, the insights gleaned from these figures hold the key to powerful strategic growth. However, when it comes to turning data into strategic action, many businesses hit a wall. According to one study by Forrester, 74% of firms want to be “data-driven,” yet only 29% are actually successful at connecting analytics to action.

So, how can organizations transform their arsenals of unconnected data points into valuable, actionable assets? To get a better understanding, we first need to take a closer look at three key terms. 

Data, Analytics, and Insights – What’s the Difference? 

Many businesses think of data, analytics, and insights as interchangeable terms; however, while they are inexorably linked, they are not synonymous. 

  • Data is raw, unprocessed information in the form of qualitative (observed), or quantitative (measured) values or text. The majority of data exists in computer-friendly formats kept in databases and spreadsheets. 

It is helpful to think of the relationship between data, analytics, and insights as a map. By looking at the data values, you can see hundreds, or thousands of points, each representing a specific marker. But because these points are represented independently from one another, there’s no way to pinpoint where you are – or want to go.  

  • Analytics is how businesses give context to their data. After prepared data has been processed, aggregated and organized, it can be analyzed and interpreted to reveal significant patterns and trends in the business.

Going back to the map analogy, analytics introduces the “roads” or pathways connecting each point. With this information, businesses can begin to triangulate their current position and decide which direction to move.

  • Insights are generated by analyzing the current business trends and patterns against business targets and objectives. Actionable insights represent decisions or courses of action organizations can use to make solve challenges, assess risks, and make strategic improvements that drive the business forward.

Using the example of the map, insights allow businesses to plot their course from Point A to Point B and identify the fastest, or most straight-forward route to their destination.  

3 Critical Steps to Building a Data-Enabled Organization 

The process of transforming from a process-driven organization into a data-driven business involves reassessing your company’s current systems and processes. And while no two transformation journeys are alike, there are 3 essential steps every business must follow to successfully shift into a data-enabled organization. 

  1. Developing Data Culture

Data culture simply refers to an organizational culture that prioritizes data-driven decision-making. It involves raising awareness on the importance of data across every facet of the organization to maintain the quality and integrity of data and reduce the potential for human error. 

To start developing a data-driven culture, businesses will need to answer a few key questions: 

  • Is the business treating its data as an asset?
  • Are there any associated investments being made to maintain data?
  • What is our data management approach and where can we improve? 
  • What data capabilities do employees possess? Where are skill gaps in different organizational levels?
  1. Maturing Data Technology 

When it comes to building a data-enabled business, it’s important to understand that not all tools are created equal. Businesses must consider their current systems and tools and their capability to provide and maintain high-quality qualitative data, as well as ease of accessibility. 

Companies whose current data technology is not meeting their needs should look into elevating their data technology portfolio with advancements such as deep learning, artificial intelligence-based insights, cloud-based data warehouses, data lakes, and collaboration tools. 

  1. Defining Data Strategy and Governance 

At the end of the day, data should support the business strategy and help solve your key business challenges. To do this, a company’s data strategy must align with the business’ goals, targets, and objectives for both the short and long term.

In terms of governance, businesses should strive to create a framework across the organization that meets business, legal, and regulatory requirements. Effective data governance further involves identifying potential risks related to data and its usage and setting the parameters of data ownership. Together, the data strategy, in alignment with a defined governance framework and risk management plan, forms the foundation of a data-driven business. 

Unlock the True Value of Your Data

There’s no doubt that data is one of the most powerful and impactful assets of any business. But whether or not that potential is realized is a matter of developing the culture, strategies, and frameworks that define a data-driven business.

Ready to transform your data into powerful, actionable insights that increase value, empower innovation and accelerate business growth

Contact us to learn more about Devoteam’s services and how we can support your data transformation journey from end to end.