Published: 11 July 2017

Reading time: About 4 minutes

Most organisations want to be ‘data-driven’. Many have already made an attempt to extract the hidden value in their data holdings. But does that mean we’re actually data-driven? First, let’s take a look at what the term means.

Being a data-driven organisation means you’re using data to make decisions intuitively. It’s choosing to use the metrics, facts and figures provided by your data as a compass rather than making ad-hoc decisions. Many of us might like to believe that we act in a data-driven way, but the reality is not quite as clear cut. If your data isn’t helping everyone in your organisation make informed decisions, then you’re not data-driven.

That doesn’t mean you should run out and give everyone in the office access to all your data. The goal of being data-driven is creating a culture where employees, even those who are not prone to using data regularly, are able to access key performance indicators (KPIs) which help build informed decisions. Before you can get to this point, however, there are a few steps to ensuring data-driven success.

Start using your data to help impact your organisation.

Let’s start at the beginning: Do you know what data you have?

It’s not a trick question. Many organisations that want to be data-driven aren’t even sure of what data they have or where it’s stored. Let alone what insight they can gain from it. It’s vital to have a solid understanding of what data you have before you can understand how it can help you. Think of organised data as a solid foundation that you can build upon.

Without that strong foundation, your data-driven dreams are likely to founder before they get going. However, ensuring you have a strong base to begin with means you’re off to a solid start. Luckily there are tools available which can take on the task of sifting through your data for you.

What Data Do You Really Need?

After you know what data you have, it’s time to determine what you really need to keep. Did you know that 60% of the data held by organisations is redundant, trivial or obsolete (ROT)? This ROT is clogging up the access to the data you really need to be analysing. Sure, you can collect everything and hope for the best but it’s more productive to decide what data is genuinely valuable to your organisation.

For example, the kind of data that a bank builds up over time might not all be relevant. So why continue to store (and pay) for this redundant data? Identify what data you really need, this might include: email addresses, banking details, address, etc. and get rid of what you don’t, IP address, and Operating System, perhaps. This way your organisation can get the best return on investment from your data.

Who Has Access?

It’s important to make data available but, as we mentioned above, that doesn’t mean everyone needs access to everything. The data that is useful for the finance department, isn’t necessarily useful for everyone else. Once your data is organised and you know what data is important to you, it will be easier to decide who requires access. Tools like AI.DATALIFT, which is the only solution capable of analysing, cleansing, classifying and controlling enterprise data at scale from a cloud-first approach can help with this task. Using this powerful tool organisations can convert their data from a potential liability to an asset.

Defining Your KPIs

By choosing what data is useful to your organisation, and deciding who has access to it, you’re deciding to look beyond the abundance of unclassified data [SC1] available in order to focus on what’s important to you. In other words, translating goals into actionable metrics.

This process is known as defining your KPIs. Some organisations, like Facebook, chose a single KPI (in this case ‘monthly active users’) by which to define success. Defining your KPIs is key to becoming a data-driven organisation. They help each employee to track measure their objectives against the organisation’s goals.

So, is your organisation data-driven?

Ultimately, a data-driven organisation is one where data analysis is at the root of every business decision. In the coming years, the need to become data-driven and embrace digital transformation will only continue to grow. For organisations looking to get ahead of the crowd, the ability to extract information from your data gives you the edge over those who fail to see its worth.

Become more data-driven:

We can help you up the ante with insights to help fuel your decision making. Get in touch today.

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