Why Data-Driven Companies Drive Growth

Souma Das, Managing Director India, Qlik | Tuesday, 20 December 2016, 09:37 IST

Over the past few years, the time organizations have at their disposal to make crucial decisions has been drastically reduced. According to a study by IDC, 42 percent of managers have just 24 hours to make an important business decision and yet, in many cases, they don’t have the access to data to help educate these decisions. This issue is a common one and, for a lot of organizations, it’s imperative they find a solution to the problem –a way for anyone in any business to tap into the huge volumes of data available and gain an insight into what’s happening across their company so they can make educated decisions on the best ways to drive business growth. 

All organizations need to be focused on becoming more efficient and productive – and there’s a plethora of ways for them to do so. However, at the heart of the solution is gaining a complete overview of what’s currently happening across the business. This means bringing all intelligence into one location and making it available for everyone to access and analyze. Data-driven organizations share a number of characteristics that make them more efficient and productive. Here’s what to do to become one:

1. Agile decisions
64 percent of business managers have seen the time allowed for decision making shrink in the last 12 months, with 42 percent citing that decisions need to be made in less 24hrs. Data-driven enterprises differ from the rest by their proven agility in the decision-making process. Being quick with their decisions allows them to better respond to dynamic business environments and competitive markets.

2. Make use of all data
Data increasingly resides across a broad ecosystem of sources - from traditional internal enterprise applications, line of business solutions, in the cloud and on people’s desktops, but increasingly from open and external sources. Data-driven enterprises provide a framework for users to access and analyse all their data irrespective of source, internal or external and don't limit analysis to preconceived notions of how data should be structured, but allow freeform analysis no matter how it is structured. Because it’s in combinations of seemingly disparate data that much of innovation will happen in the digital era.

3. Extend analysis to all levels
According to a study by Gartner, analytic tools do not reach more than 25 percent of non-technical users in an organization. In order to achieve company-wide adoption of data analysis, platforms need to be both accessible and usable for anyone from the HR Manager through to the Head of Marketing, or even shop floor staff. Giving everyone the ability to do data analysis means more knowledge can be harnessed, after all. 

4. Go beyond your company
An organization’s intelligence shouldn’t be limited to internal data or the knowledge of its employees, but should also make use of data from its external ecosystem of partners, customers, suppliers, and so on. The data available for analysis should therefore not be the exclusive domain of people within the organization – it needs to incorporate information from third parties as well.

5. Embrace Governance
Governance is often seen as standing in the way of the innovation and agility of a business, but without it, organizations would face unnecessary risks. Governance – getting the right data sets to the right people - is key to empowering users with the appropriate information with which to improve their decision making. With this in mind, governance should focus less on power and surveillance, and more on opening access to relevant applications and analytics up to the business community.

6. Data driven business models
Data-driven organizations recognize that data analysis doesn’t just help leaders make the best decisions in a quick timeframe, but can also help to identify new growth opportunities, define new business models and show new ways to reduce risks. More than half of companies with big data projects, according to Gartner, focus the use of their data in generating new business ideas or design to optimize sales processes. These insights are exactly what any organization needs in order to define new business models – put data at the heart of all operations. 

We now have more data available to us than ever before, which makes us more informed as a society. Organizations are able to drive changes, optimize their business and, ultimately, improve their decision-making from a proven base that’s accumulating all knowledge. The new data-driven business models need to focus on people. The key will be to equip each and every member of staff with the ability to analyze data and get insights that can help drive the business forward.