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We have more data at our fingertips than entire generations before us. But due to data mismanagement issues, for many companies that don’t mean very much. According to the recent survey “Reducing Inefficiency and Increasing the Value of Analytics and Business Intelligence,” only 11 percent of participants said they were “very satisfied” with their organization’s investments in data and Analytics project.
So, how can enterprises identify and fix their Data Management challenges? Below are three major signs that your data isn’t being leveraged fully.
Sign #1: Analytical ability is Being Limited by Spreadsheets
Spreadsheets are, and will likely remain, one of the most widely used Analytics Tools. But as data volumes rise and interest in sophisticated analysis and visualization grows, spreadsheets are not a future-proof solution.
Because they require manual steps to prepare it – like duplicating records and fixing errors – these methods are often done in a haphazard and inconsistent way, rendering spreadsheet processes slow, error-prone and unrepeatable. In fact, 81 percent of respondents named Data Quality and consistency as the most concerning spreadsheet challenge, and 62 percent of respondents rated the inability to repeat preparation processes in spreadsheets as a concern, according to the survey.
To address this issue, companies should re-evaluate their Data Strategy and invest in self-service alternatives that streamline Data Preparation processes and allow users to analyze and share data sets in a formalized and replicable way. They should also consider investing in programs with Machine Learning capabilities that make smart recommendations based on user behavior and data input. Advanced functionalities like these will lead to improved efficiency, integrity and time to insight.
Sign #2: Your Data Strategy Encourages Poor Teamwork
Believe it or not, your analysts want to work together. According to the study, users’ knowledge of datasets stem mainly from tribal knowledge, like email (48%), word of mouth (45%) and internal and external social networks (25% and 5% respectively).
While this is exciting news for managers who struggle to encourage teams to collaborate, it’s a nightmare when it comes to data-driven decision-making. Sharing data in such unofficial ways leaves organizations vulnerable to inconsistencies, governance gaps, and regulatory problems. Furthermore, when teammates leave, their knowledge leaves with them.
Instead, employers should develop formalized systems for sharing knowledge. This could take the form of a Master Data Management (MDM) system, which about a fifth of research participants report using, or a data marketplace, which only 5% of respondents are currently using. Platforms like these allow users to access information in a reliable, accessible and secure way. Some software programs even come with socialization features, like commenting and rating. These capabilities allow team members to exchange insights effectively – reducing any errors or duplication of work and effort that may occur from delays in communication.
Sign #3: You’re Making Decisions Based on Gut Instinct, Rather than Fact
Data has the potential to be a powerful tool for uncovering insights and making important decisions, but if you can’t trust it, then the data isn’t very helpful. Unfortunately, this is the reality for most organizations.
According to the research, just one in five said they could identify trusted data sources on their own, and only 17% can determine Data Lineage – who created the dataset and where it came from – without close IT support.
But by appointing a Chief Data Officer (CDO) or IT professional who can steward analysts’ experience and point them to trusted, well governed sources, employees can enable data users and analysts to do their job in an effective way that instills confidence both in the data users, and their managers.
There is Hope with Data Intelligence Strategies!
Data Management is a serious obstacle for companies who want to increase productivity, collaborate more efficiently and generate data-driven decisions.
The bright side is that executives are recognizing the need for improved Data Intelligence strategies that include efficient Data Preparation processes, secure and governed places to store information and Data Stewards who can manage the information in a controlled and governed way.
Clearly, the future is bright, but the first step is acknowledging pitfalls and creating a culture ripe for improvement.