Why a unified data strategy is your best bet during times of economic uncertainty
Rising energy and food prices, geopolitical tensions, growing use of multiple currencies for global trade settlements, and disruptive technology define our present. How can organizations forecast and plan for the future and contingencies? Business intelligence, derived from data collection and management, is one way of becoming future-ready.
Data analytics and governance are among the top trends that will dominate business conversations this year – with good reason. A unified data strategy is your starting point for deriving the business intelligence that supports your organization’s growth. And a strategy that aligns with your business objectives will ensure you have the necessary foundation to achieve revenue targets as the data is more accurate. This is a fundamental aspect of improving the efficiency of operations and quality of services in a more cost-effective manner, and leveraging and responding to emerging technology developments.
So how does a unified data strategy support revenue growth?
A unified data strategy is the centralization of data management and governance. Multiple data tools and technologies will enable the collection of data from disparate sources and consolidate it within a single source. Adopting a unified data strategy has many wins:
- Data integration and optimization
Data that exists in different formats (e.g: spreadsheets, documents, databases), is stored on-premises or in the cloud, and can be structured or unstructured. When you adopt a unified data strategy, however challenging it may be during the initial stages of data integration due to legacy architectures and the use of multiple vendors, your data is available in one place. With all the data in one place, businesses can analyze and optimize the cost and the technology mix to gain insights, and make informed decisions that can help them stay ahead of the competition.
- IImproved data visibility and workflows
By viewing all data in centralized dashboards, businesses can improve data accuracy, eliminate obsolete data, and determine relevant data requirements. This higher data quality aids in decision making and forecasting, empowering businesses to save costs, minimize expenditures, and maximize revenue. Additionally, a unified data strategy streamlines data management, reduces duplication of effort, and improves collaboration, resulting in more efficient and effective workflows.
- Decision making flexibility
With access to near real-time data and predictive analytics, you’re aware of fluctuations and are more prepared to adopt greater flexibility in your organizations. At times you will be required to respond rapidly to an evolving situation – and this decision-making flexibility is best achieved through a unified data strategy.
- Operational efficiency
Automation solutions are increasingly becoming a component of unified data strategies. Functions such as data collection, cleansing, and compliance are now becoming automated. The benefits of automation are of course well known – they specifically help to eliminate human errors and ensure that data is accurate. Incorporating automation solutions will fast-track certain operational functions so that you can keep your stakeholders updated with the correct information and improve service/delivery standards.
- Better team collaboration
You can reduce having data silos by adopting a unified data strategy. But it does not end there. Promote a data driven culture in your organization to educate team members about the importance of data, provide them with the required access, and train them to handle data responsibly. A team that is well-knowledgeable about organizational data and its uses, and is not hampered by the existence of data silos – is one that will be able to collaborate more effectively.
- Security and compliance
Security and regulatory compliance are integral to any unified data strategy. Regardless of the size of your organization, you are bound to comply with regional data protection regulations. The data tools and technologies that you use must have the capabilities to collect, transfer, and store data securely – and enact policies that will maintain the integrity of your data. The biggest benefit of adopting a unified data strategy is enhanced security, as it allows you to know where all your data is stored and how it’s used. This, in turn, can improve your ability to reach customers while also addressing data protection regulations like GDPR and other security issues.
Unified data strategies in action
Unified data strategies are now deployed in many industries and customized to achieve their specific business needs:
- Retail: Track product inventories and customer behavior over time (i.e., purchase history and preferences) to drive sales and marketing strategies.
- Hospitals and healthcare providers: Analyze a range of patient data (i.e, medical history and treatment outcomes) to improve treatment options made available to patients and offer better patient care.
- Banks and financial institutions: Monitor financial performance and macroeconomic trends, detect fraudulent activities, and make data-driven investment decisions.
- Transportation and logistics: Improve route planning and fuel consumption to optimize operations, improve the efficiency of the transportation fleet, monitor warehouse operations, and cut costs.
- Insurance: Customer segmentation, risk assessment, fraud detection, and improving the claims process. For example, a leading life insurer in the APAC region implemented a unified data strategy that enhanced the visibility of performance metrics, shortened time-to-insight, and democratized data access company-wide for better collaboration. The insurer now has access to more accurate data that supports their decision making across a range of functions.
Internal tech teams also have to work around the clock to pick up the slack of outdated systems as legacy ERPs don’t tend to easily integrate with other business applications. For example, when the business wants a new feature, needs to create an integration, or even generate a simple report, the tech team has to step in to customize the outdated system. Over time, these customizations can turn older ERP systems into a one-of-a-kind puzzle that only those who’ve worked on it for years can manage. If these trained resources leave the company or if the system breaks down, the business would have to scramble to fix these issues, resulting in downtimes and mounting expenses.
Leveraging emerging technologies and selecting a business intelligence tool
The artificial intelligence (AI) powered chatbot Chat GPT started becoming very popular following its launch in November 2022. In fact, there were 1 million users within a week! Social media is filled with anecdotal accounts of how individuals are experimenting with Chat GPT for various functions. The popularity of Chat GPT is a reflection of a wider trend – the growing use of AI. A recently published McKinsey Global Survey states that AI adoption has increased by over 2.5 within 5 years. According to the report, organizations mostly use AI powered solutions to improve service operations, analyze customer services, acquire customers, risk modeling, analytics, and predictive analysis.
AI, with its ability to analyze large volumes of data faster, integrate data from multiple sources, and generate insights to support forecasting, has many implications for your organization. By adopting AI in your unified data strategy, you can scale your functions as required while maintaining the accuracy of data. To leverage the possibilities of AI and plan for future developments, start by understanding how to implement a unified data strategy. Such a strategy must be a part of your organization’s wider vision for growth. It is important to select data tools and technologies that provide you with the relevant features to support your business objectives:
- Data visualization, dashboards, and interactive reports
- A secure repository with all your data in one place
- Self-service analytics capabilities
- Real-time and predictive analytics
- AI models
Furthermore, data tools and technologies must enable you to perform a range of data and analytics functions without any exorbitant costs.
Our team will help you to get started with a unified data strategy and analytics solution with minimal initial costs. We will begin by performing an analytics assessment with your team to understand your data vision and formulate an analytics roadmap. Our solutions are varied from Microsoft Azure data services, AWS combined with Microsoft Power BI. Reach out to us to learn how we can help you with your unified data strategy.