Businesses are handling more data than ever before. Yet while this data can be extremely valuable and useful in a wide variety of contexts, our research has found that more than half of senior decision-makers in UK businesses feel overwhelmed by the data generated within their organisation.
Unfortunately, it appears that this problem gets worse the bigger the company gets – rising to 61% among those working in companies with over 1,000 employees.
As well as the issue of data volume, businesses are experiencing significant challenges when it comes to analysing their data in order to make business decisions. Typically, this process is taking a week or two (41%), while it even takes 16% of businesses a month. Consequently, eliminating these lengthy processes upfront is critical to allow enterprises to get to the data source faster and make decisions based on this data much quicker.
In the first of two blogs, we’ll explore some of the challenges facing businesses when it comes to using their data and how to overcome these issues.
How is data used?
The majority of businesses use a wealth of data, including customer records, financial reports and sales figures, for a variety of purposes. For instance, 90% of senior decision-makers use the data their organisation generates to identify business challenges and needs, whilst 89% use it for the decision-making process. Other uses include getting to know customers better and predicting trends.
However, despite the important role data plays in helping businesses decide on any organisational changes, more than two-thirds find accessing the data required for this purpose challenging. So, how can they overcome these issues?
Removing data siloes
Many of the data-related challenges these businesses encounter often stem from them finding it difficult to determine which of their applications hold the relevant data. More often than not, the organisation’s systems have evolved over time and the applications in use are unable to operate in a cohesive manner, all of which results in data becoming siloed. Therefore, to overcome these issues and derive more value from their data, businesses must address the strategies and systems they have in place.
Removing siloes and simplifying processes
Currently, businesses tend to focus on more overarching organisational strategies, rather than their top business priorities, which usually over promise and under deliver as resources are overstretched. If businesses want to overcome their challenges, they must begin by removing siloes and simplifying the issues they are faced with.
To achieve this, organisations need to tackle one problem at a time by looking at one business outcome and determining how they can solve it with data, as opposed to trying to build the best data strategy without looking first at how the outcomes are going to be achieved. By identifying the top three to five priorities for the organisation, then taking and solving one problem at a time, businesses will become more focused and agile.
Using this method to create a cohesive data strategy will go a long way in enabling businesses to access and analyse their data quicker. In turn, this will empower enterprises to vastly improve their operations.
Using data platforms
Businesses should also be addressing the data platforms they have in place. While historically analysing data effectively required businesses to move all of their data into a centralised database, which 75% of organisations still do, this is no longer the case. In fact, the speed and scale available from data platforms today means that businesses can keep their data where it is, but still access and benefit from it in real-time.
With this in mind, implementing a data management platform that is capable of this will speed up the decision-making process and enable businesses to derive more value from their data. The insights gained from this data can then be used to reduce risk or to implement cost-saving strategies.
Within data platforms, like InterSystems IRIS, tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can be used to allow businesses to analyse and gain insight from their data in real-time. This will ultimately help to reduce instances of senior decision makers feeling overwhelmed by data and enable them to use it to its fullest potential.
This use of AI can also enable organisations deliver innovative new services, create new revenue streams and streamline business processes, all of which can help to improve customer experiences and help them gain competitive advantages.