Written by Roman Stanek |
Migrating to the cloud doesn’t make you a data company. Neither does having a data lake — no matter how well-organized.
A team of data scientists committed to giving your company access to data won’t qualify you as a data company.
Regularly using data visualizations during presentations doesn’t make you a data company, either.
In 2018, Gartner reported that 87% of companies have low business intelligence (BI) and analytics maturity. True data companies — only about 8% of companies today — have made data and analytics accessible to their entire organization. Beyond relying solely on IT or data science teams, these companies have implemented a strategy and made the investment to democratize access to data insights for all business users. They’ve actually conquered the “last mile” of data analytics.
Enabling enterprise-wide analytics to become a true data company
As the proliferation of data in the enterprise increases, companies cannot become complacent about how they’re leveraging data. Having access to it via IT teams or complex software isn’t enough. To become a data-driven business, to stay agile and competitive long-term, companies must chart a path forward that makes business intelligence readily available to the entire organization — and in turn, ensure every decision can be a data-driven decision.
Today’s enterprise patchwork of data and analytics maturity
While investment in data and analytics tools is growing and data maturity is increasing, companies are still struggling to fully leverage their data to drive business results. Today, research suggests most companies leverage less than half of the data they collect
Making data connected and accessible is the first step: evolving beyond data warehouse silos and moving toward a more unified data strategy. While some companies have cleared this hurdle, many are still challenged to manage the growing troves of data they’re collecting. For example, while many companies are implementing multi-cloud strategies, managing data in these multi-cloud environments is still expected to be one of the most urgent data management challenges of the next two years.
Armed with more data, companies can then leverage business intelligence tools to use data in decision-making. But some of these tools can be inflexible, complex and expensive — resulting in data bottlenecks. More modern BI tools are designed to be unconstrained and easy to use, but because they are unconstrained and lack governance, there is inconsistency in the insights and in who can access them. Ultimately, the inconsistency creates a lack of clear direction for moving forward.
The data company difference: Investing in the last mile of analytics
True data companies have a balance between complex BI tools that IT and data science teams can leverage for long-term planning, and tools that provide business users across the rest of the company clean and consistent data insights. Today, most companies have invested in the former, but true data and analytics companies are outperforming the competition because they’ve invested in the last mile of analytics: where employees at all levels are empowered to make data-driven decisions, and the company as a whole is more nimble and innovative.
Consider Zalando: The Berlin-based e-commerce company is one of Europe’s leading online platforms for fashion and lifestyle. It has 32 million active customers and over 2,500 top fashion and lifestyle brand partners. Each of the brand partners needs insights about how these active customers — from across 17 European markets — behave. With data analytics-such as insight into what products are selling where, to whom, and why, brand partners can maximize revenue, grow market share and create new revenue streams from data they collect. At first, requesting regular reports from the Zalando data team was time consuming (for both Zalando and partners). So Zalando partnered with GoodData to offer a data and analytics platform called ZMS Insights, where partners could easily access data to power savvy decision-making. And when Zalando’s brands are successful — so is the platform itself. Zalando conquered the last mile.
Driving the last mile of data and analytics in the enterprise
Similar to the case of Zalando, at large enterprise organizations, data science and IT teams are often bogged down by data requests not only from customers but also from business departments.
IT teams and data science teams are integral to a good data company. But rather than use them to fulfill business-level queries, they should be empowered to do more in-depth analysis. Business users, on the other hand, should have access to self-serve data platforms allowing them to make decisions leveraging data that’s customizable to their needs, but consistent organization-wide.
The solution is centered on identifying the right data and analytics tools to make that kind of organization-wide access possible. And the companies that can truly enable and embrace data across the organization will yield its most valuable benefits: profitability, efficiency and an improved customer experience.
Written by Roman Stanek |