Why data strategy keeps CEOs awake at night

A perfect data strategy can drive efficiency, accurate insights, and hence drive better outcomes for the organisation, its people and stakeholders

Updated: Oct 30, 2018 11:54:37 AM UTC
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Navigating the complex world of ever evolving technology disruptions is keeping business leaders under tremendous pressure to constantly their reap benefits to deliver higher value. The ask is also to deliver results faster and efficiently. What keeps chief executive officers (CEOs) awake at night is creating a perfect data strategy to drive better outcomes. It's either that, or they risk being left behind.

If a company does not have a data strategy, it may cease to exist in the next decade. While data has always been a central asset in technology projects, it has now become crucial to organisational success; core to enterprise survival.

As big data explodes in volume, velocity and complexity in the hyper-connected world, it is increasingly getting difficult to unlock its full potential. Data should be treated as a corporate asset in the digital era and organisations need a strategic approach to harness it as a lever of success -- covering all areas, including classification and storage, protection, analytics, backup and recovery, among others. If harnessed optimally, data offers huge economic value to the organisation, equipping business leaders with actionable insights.

Guided by advanced data technologies, a robust strategy can enable firms to effectively glean the right insights at the right time. It also enables managing and providing access with the right governance models to adopt to the changing business needs seamlessly. This enables them to be more agile and respond faster to new market and customer trends. Facilitating deeper customer engagement, this decides the very existence of organisations.

While most businesses are keen on leveraging data to ensure a competitive edge, many struggle to agree on what it is, much less describe the expected tangible benefits. The reality is, enterprises grapple with the complexities since many fail to leverage data as a fundamental asset. For this, enterprises need to have a data strategy in place – one that works for them.

Business/functional needs, IT and data infrastructure need to work hand in hand, to ensure a clear view of the required data integration, storage, capacity and security. Being open to new innovations, organisations can adapt existing data environments and operations into the new systems to ensure business continuity. This can help create an insight-led workflow across the entire value chain of the business, improving decision-making, operations - eventually monetising data.

At the most basic level, organisations must take this integrated approach to cleanse and control data, and embrace a data-focused strategy with the right IT tools, to have the right data in the right place. It is even more important in today’s fast paced, ever changing world where we witness the convergence and confluence of sophisticated technologies like social, cloud, mobile, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Simplification, synergy and scaling up of data-driven insights from disparate sources, along with a clearly defined strategy ensures that business leaders take informed decisions to realise business goals.

A clean data strategy can also help position and monetise data in a useable, shareable and movable manner. While data is critical, people and enterprise culture are equally vital to effectively synergise, organise, govern, analyse, and deploy an asset-based data strategy.

The advantages are many. A data strategy leveraged efficiently, can help businesses deliver personalised customer experience, bolster recruitment, and help them realise their vision.

The roadmap is clear, organisations need a cultural transformation to drive strategic business outcomes that really matter. Going beyond the surface level aggregation or storage of data, businesses must act with resolve to delve deeper, leverage it as a valuable asset in driving market relevant, novel outcomes.

A firm-wide culture of harvesting data-driven asset strategy, rooted in security and privacy, can help businesses boost their return on investment (ROI), and help accelerate business growth. For sure, enterprises must make data fundamental to their growth plays and securely manage data to make assets accessible and usable. The reality is, you are bound to perish if you are not data driven. An ocean of data all around us offers limitless opportunities to scale new horizons, if only we can capitalise on it as the most valuable asset for the enterprise.

The author is Executive Vice President at Tata Communications.

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