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The benefits of an enterprise wide data strategy

By Stern Curator on 5/01/16 10:00 AM

Research firm IDC says many organisations lack an enterprise-wide data management strategy, creating significant challenges for their IT departments.

Including impact on storage budgets, compromising their ability to harness the full value of all their data assets and leaving them unable to accurately assess the costs and risks of inadequate protection.

“C-level executives are realising that their organisation's performance and competiveness largely depend on how effectively they manage and use their data to improve decision making, balanced against their ability to protect it,” IDC says.

“Becoming a data-driven organisation is no longer a choice, but a necessity. Making decisions based on data-driven approaches not only increases the accuracy of results but also provides consistency in how the results are interpreted and fed back into the business.”

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IDC’s comments come from a white paper ‘The data-driven organization: unlocking greater value from data and minimizing its associated costs and risks’, sponsored by CommVault. The white paper reported the results of a survey of 600 IT decision makers undertaken by IDC across 10 countries in Asia Pacific.

Forty percent of respondents said that their information management strategy — including backup, recovery, data protection and analytics — was managed at a departmental level. This, IDC says, is bad news.

“The lack of holistic or enterprise-wide data management strategies can have a major impact on business agility and performance. Not having access to the right data at the right time affects the organisation's ability to anticipate and respond to new market trends and address changing customer requirements. Understanding what those customers' needs are and addressing their expectations can be difficult if key customer data is spread across different applications, platforms and departments”

According to IDC, the different types of customer data managed by marketing (eg Web and social) need to be integrated (and analysed) with datasets from other departments like sales and finance to have a clearer view of customer priorities, and to deliver on those.

Similarly, finance departments require better (and increasingly real time) access to key data assets from various departments to ensure better company planning.

Organisations that want to implement an enterprise-wide data strategy face considerable challenges, not the least of which is the ever-growing volume of data such a strategy has to embrace.

However, developing and successfully implementing an enterprise-wide data strategy is not the end game. The real benefits come when an organisation leverages this resource to become data-centric and data-driven. IDC says: “Becoming a data-driven organisation is more than investing in the technology, since this transformation needs to be complemented with a cultural shift toward analytically oriented decisions and processes. Also, in a data-driven organisation, technical staff should no longer be only focused on managing the infrastructure, but instead become managers of the data.”

The benefits can be considerable. IDC says its research shows that organisations that are highly analytical are more than twice more likely to substantially outperform their peers than others. Its research also found that managers at the most competitive organisations are much more reliant on business analytics (rather than intuition) than managers at their least competitive peers.

Organisations faced with an ever-growing flood of data might be tempted to put the implementation of an enterprise wide data strategy in the ‘too-hard’ basket, but the dangers of doing so should not be underestimated.

“Data analytics as a tool for competitive advantage is still in its infancy, but is sure to grow rapidly. Those organisations still hampered by data silos will find themselves at a distinct disadvantage.”

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