Winning Data Strategy for Small Business Needs

By CIOReview | Thursday, August 29, 2019

Creating a data strategy can bolster every aspect of business processes regardless of the size of the business.

FREMONT, CA: Gone are the days when companies did not realize the importance of data. As businesses tend to evolve, companies are increasingly depending on different data for its crucial role in running smart businesses. Companies that do not rely on the data-driven business is less likely to survive in the modern economy. Data helps one to understand and improve business processes, thereby making critical business decisions. However, it is still not enough to just possess the data, instead, it should be utilized effectively for a successful business transformation. Also, if the data is present in silos and is not organized correctly, this scenario renders data unfit to satisfy business needs, where such data existence is considered futile. Even though the companies have realized that data is an important asset, they failed to derive the full benefits out of it because of the lack of knowledge in data strategy.

This kind of knowledge gap is especially common in small to medium-sized businesses. To attain a competitive advantage, these businesses need to fully embrace the creation of a data strategy to serve their specific business needs. So, instead of beginning with data, companies should start with a data strategy.

Creating a data strategy has become vital with the sheer volume of data that is prevailing these days. To be business-centric, data used for building smart business strategies should help in attaining the business goals and generating value. In simple words, data strategy is a plan designed to improve the ways of managing, using, acquiring, storing, and sharing the business data. While data strategies developed by the IT team solely focus on data storage, security, integrity, and disaster recovery, it does not help reach the strategic business goals, and this is where business leaders gain their value. Thus, developing a data strategy should not be a mere duty of the IT department, but a combined work of business and IT leadership team to keep in pace with the business goals. With enormous data availability, creating a business strategy is about focusing on the specific data that can absolutely benefit the organization.

Here's a look at what needs to be considered to build robust business strategies:

Data needs

It is essential to find the right data to serve the business needs that is unique for each business. Whether the data available internally is sufficient to address the goals or should be made available from outside the organization should also be decided. In some cases, organizations prefer structured data, while in some, unstructured data, where the choice is based on priorities.

Business Strategy

Understanding an organization’s strategic priorities and goals can help identify ways to utilize the data to answer the business requirements. To define business requirements, it is essential to identify all the stakeholders, SMEs, and champion in the organization.

Technology and Infrastructure requirements

With several ideas for using the data, deciding on the software and hardware that can accommodate the data, followed by the crucial processes of collecting, storing, and analyzing data are turned into insights. To build a flexible and scalable data architecture, machine learning, or deep learning technology is highly employed in most cases.

Data storage and protection

Data protection and storage, being the more substantial part of data strategy, IT team should effectively help in deploying the security solutions and also assist in moving the data to the cloud. Data plays a great role for businesses. Especially when it comes to personal data, collecting, and storing data brings strict legal and regulatory obligations. Therefore, proper attention is needed for data governance to think about data security, quality, privacy, and ownership issues. Ignoring the problems mentioned above and failing to address them can lead to a huge liability.

Short-term adoption priorities

A significant strategic data priority takes a longer time to implement while short term priorities can be executed inexpensively at a higher speed with a greater return on investment from the data.

Skills and potential

It is not merely technology that can help enterprises become data-driven, but the skills that count a lot. Companies trying to build the best data strategy lack the required data skills and knowledge. Here, training the in-house staff and hiring new talent can bring a successful outcome. If the business is looking for external skills, partnering with a data provider is recommended.

Data Strategy is the one that will help every company to achieve its goals. In this data-driven world, the companies that value data as a strategic asset and design robust data and analytics strategies are believed to stand ahead of their competitors.