Insights 10 August 2023

Turn Info into Insights
Sharpen Strategic Decisions with Consolidated Data Platform

Digital-first operations are playing important roles in growing business. They refer to the application of technologies to boost efficiency and strengthen businesses in the rapidly changing digital world.

A key to the effective implementation of digital-first operating models is to enable businesses to make data-driven decisions on both internal and external activities. This can happen if data are centralized, have quality and reliability and are not duplicated. This is the reason why consolidated data platforms must be developed.

Without a consolidated data platform, organizations surely have problems

Will there be any problem if an organization wants to make data-driven decisions but it does not have a consolidated data platform? Organizations have used a wide range of software. This results in each organization having various kinds of software and numerous ways of data storage. Organizations have many types of databases and considerable formats of data and use many technologies to handle data. There are also proprietary data which may be stored in personal computers as well as the data that are hard copies and have not been stored in any information technology system.

The above-mentioned factors prevent companies from quickly using their data because their data are not centralized. In addition, without a proper data storage system, organizations may have problems about the quality of data because they cannot verify their data. The organizations that cannot use data to produce insights to support their business decisions may miss growth opportunities and their business can suffer lasting damage.

Consolidated data platforms turn data into insights

Consolidated data platforms are crucial to digital business. Consolidated data platforms can gather data from sources including customers’ data, financial data, sales data, marketing data, production data and supply chain data which are related to the activities of business organizations. Consolidated data platforms can centralize such data, verify them, properly sort data, protect data as required by laws and identify persons in charge of data. Consolidated data platforms are user-friendly, provide executives and decision-makers with comprehensive and clear data related to their business and let them see business trends quickly. Consequently, business organizations can better serve their customers.

10 steps to build consolidated data platforms

Consolidated data platforms are created to enable businesses to use data to produce the insights which facilitate strategic decisions, improve efficiency and develop competitive edge. There may be various ways to build consolidated data platforms, depending on the types of business, the sizes of organizations and requirements. However, Bluebik sees 10 basic steps to develop effective consolidated data platforms.

1. Situation assessment

Before creating consolidated data platforms, business organizations should examine their own data infrastructures, data quality, data-related knowledge and expertise and the data analytical processes of their staff. The examination will show the loopholes and new business opportunities that consolidated data platforms can address to improve efficiency.

2. Clear strategies and visions

Important factors in the creation of consolidated data platforms to support decisions are clear strategies and visions. These refer to business goals, measureable objectives and realistic development roadmaps. This will justify support and encouragement from executives and key stakeholders.

3. Data governance

Strong frameworks for data governance maximize organizations’ efficiency in data management. They cover data collection, data storage, data use and analyses, data supervision, data quality and data security. Organizations should have their data governance working groups responsible for data management.

4. Investment in carefully chosen technologies

It is important to choose and invest in the technologies that suit organizations. This concerns infrastructures, tools and platforms for the collection, processing, storage and analyses of data. They include databases, data lakes, business intelligence (BI) tools and advanced data analytic instruments like machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).

5. The improvement of data quality and relevance

Organizations should have processes and standards for the improvement of data quality which covers accuracy, reliability and relevance so that their data can be analyzed and turned into correct and practical in-depth data.

6. The development of data-driven organizational culture

To be able to use data to support strategic decisions, organizations must have, among others, data-driven culture. This means that staff members base their decisions on data, share data across departments and have data literacy. Organizations must have data-related training sessions and workshops for their staff and include data analyses in the regular work processes of staff.

7. The formation of data excellence teams in organizations

Organizations should form special teams to handle data-related work. Such teams comprise data analysts, data scientists and specialists who can study in-depth data, develop data analysis models and create return on investment in data. Such data excellence teams may collaborate with departments to address challenges facing businesses.

8. The continuous promotion of data-driven initiatives

Though having their own consolidated data platforms, data-driven organizations should never be complacent. They should always encourage new data-related initiatives to promote learning and experiment. Organizations should give advice to further improve processes in accordance with their business objectives and technological capabilities.

9. Follow-up and evaluation

For the development of consolidated data platforms, organizations should have key performance indicators (KPIs), apply them regularly to verify progress and use findings to develop strategies and further improve work processes.

10. Communicating success and sharing insights

When organizations share the concrete outcomes and success of their data-related projects, they prove to their staff clearly that data-related initiatives and investment are valuable and bring about success. By this means, their data-driven organizational culture will be strong for good.

These 10 steps are basic ways to build consolidated data platforms and turn businesses into data-driven organizations. As a leading consultancy on end-to-end digital transformation, Bluebik is of the view that many challenges may arise in the process of building of consolidated data platforms. They include failure to hire the professionals who can design and install digital systems, the unsuccessful transformation and improvement of existing systems at organizations, the poor management of IT and business teams that have different experiences, and the lack of understanding about business trends and operations which is necessary to create the use cases that suit business objectives. Consultancies with relevant expertise can ensure the fast and truly successful transformation of business organizations to data-driven ones.