Executives are tired of the “$25,000 data question.” Every time they want to ask a question of their data, it seems that the cost in time, people, and technology outweighs the benefit of getting the insight. Business leaders want answers and insights at the speed of business. Unfortunately, business leaders are often beholden to the IT department when it’s time to analyze data. As a result, the less tech-savvy among us never see the true potential of the data we collect.
However, data doesn’t have to be inaccessible to non-engineers. There is an application for data integration that allows even non-technical users to identify and integrate disparate sets of data to rapidly deliver business insights. There are steps business leaders can take to make sure their data is available on demand, regardless of their technical skill level.
Make it a priority.
At this point, most businesses understand data is important. It can guide strategy, make predictions, and lead to concrete results. However, even with this in mind, most data doesn’t get used. In fact, reports indicate that businesses spend 80 percent of their time wrangling data and only 20 percent actually analyzing it.
Because data analysis feels overwhelming and lives behind a daunting wall of tech, it often fails to be a focus for business leaders. Step one on the path to truly utilizing data is to prioritize its analysis. Data itself is not the asset, it’s how you look at it that brings value. Once you realize the potential, it’ll become easier to find the motivation to push through the technology hurdles and find easier ways to garner insights.
Know where to get it.
Companies large and small are struggling to make sense of the growing amount of data that they have coming at them. To make data easier to process, narrow down your data sources to make sure you’re getting the data you need, and nothing more.
To do this, start by thinking through what exactly you want data to do for your business. Think of all the questions you would like to ask of your data today, and prioritize that list. Do you want your data to paint a clear picture of your average customer? To inform you when it’s time to hire? To pinpoint the next best market to target? By starting with these questions, you’ll be better equipped to identify the ideal sources of your data, and then integrate those sources to get the insights you want.
Don’t settle for silos.
Data is fragmented across silos, in large part, due to the use of traditional data collection technology and management tools. When data is broken into silos, it becomes difficult to see correlations. For example, we recently worked with a Fortune 500 retail company that wanted a clear picture of their primary shopper. They had various customer demographic info, insight into likes, shopping habits, etc., but they found it difficult to bring all of these data points together, out of their individual silos, to form one complete consumer archetype.
Many traditional data management tools don’t solve the silo issue. This makes gaining holistic insights from different data sources extremely complex and time-intensive. Thankfully, there are tools and software platforms that exist that can integrate data from different sources without requiring you to code complex data models.
Don’t settle for traditional tools that keep data in silos. Instead, find technology that works for you.
Take a deeper dive into how Best-in-Class organizations approach data analysis with this comprehensive research report by Aberdeen Principal Analyst Michael Lock.
Megan Browning Kvamme is CEO and co-founder of FactGem.