Data Management: The Key to Digital Transformation
By Roeland Krom • published November 17, 2021 • last updated July 4, 2022
Forward-thinking organizations understand the importance of digital transformation. Fewer, however, are aware of the essential role that data management plays in achieving it.
Here, we’ll explore the synergy between these concepts and dive into the detail of establishing a solid data foundation.
What is Digital Transformation and Why is it Important?
Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies and data-driven solutions to create new (or modify existing) business processes, cultures, and customer experiences. There are multiple reasons why frontrunner companies have digital transformation as a top priority.
Digital transformation helps improve efficiency by leveraging organizational data to find better, faster ways to accomplish core tasks. The ultimate aim is to improve adaptability and resilience by providing companies with a blueprint to adjust their offerings. This helps them to constantly reinvent themselves and keep up with ever-changing customer landscapes and market requirements.
To understand the dangers of failing to digitally transform, we could look to Kodak.
Kodak went from being a leading photography brand to bankruptcy. Naturally, there were several reasons for this, but the primary one is that the company failed to leverage data. Otherwise, they may have appreciated that the organization needed digital transformation to stay at the forefront of its industry.
On the opposite side of history, we have leading global brands like Apple and Amazon. These companies took advantage of making data one of their most important corporate assets and used it to fuel the impressive growth they’ve achieved over the past few decades. In fact, Amazon increased its revenue by 35% simply by leveraging relevant data to improve customer experiences.
Data: The Asset that Keeps on Giving
Increasingly, companies are starting to see their data as a key organizational asset. Data is also more available than ever before — so companies in the know are prioritizing collecting as much of it as they possibly can.
These companies are gaining lightyears on their competitors, simply by taking advantage of this data goldmine. Collecting and analyzing more diverse, more accurate, and more recent data means they have privileged access to unique market insights. At this point, they’re playing in another league.
To beat the competition at its own game, your organization needs effective data management. The first step towards it is creating a solid data foundation. In the past, this sacred knowledge was confined to the IT inner circle. But now the secret’s out and it’s on the C-Level agenda, too — just think of the number of Chief Data Officer and Chief of Digital Transformation roles you’ve seen materializing over the last few years.
The brilliant thing about data is that it’s an asset that keeps on giving. The more you effectively manage your data, the more valuable a resource it becomes. Time and funds spent on organizing, updating, and diversifying your data foundation enable your employees to make smarter decisions. From HR to sales, you’ll see a ripple effect as data-driven decisions improve each move your organization makes. It’s the added edge you need to outsmart the competition.
The Challenges of Data Management
The transition can pose several new challenges for companies. For example, organizations are seeing a rise in the number of software applications they need to manage because of the sudden influx of new, data-driven solutions.
This fragmentation of the applications landscape often creates more data silos as companies try to utilize applications for each of their business functions. Not only does this limit opportunities for internal collaboration, but it also creates siloed vocabularies that can be tough for employees in different departments to bridge.
With multiple systems and workflows for customers, finance, and sales fulfillment, there is no standard vocabulary and strategies get lost in translation. When companies use a varied vocabulary for data, fields like customer names, suppliers, and product codes are different from one part of the organization to the other. This makes it tough for a business to use it consistently across multiple business units. To truly see the value of their data assets, companies need a way to bring these silos together.
Poor Data Management is an Accident Waiting to Happen
When data isn’t managed properly, it causes issues. A company simply isn’t able to support its employees, partners, or customers in making the right decisions — or in a way that makes them feel valued and understood. At the same time, employees can’t access the data they need to perform at their best. Poor access to bad quality data rapidly turns into poor decisions, from employees to C-level.
Unsurprisingly, this seriously affects a company’s ability to stay agile, effective, and secure. Gaps and delays in data mean missed opportunities; poor data management can lead to reputation-risking breaches; patchy systems and lack of accountability can mean time wasted, and valuable records lost.
All in all, lacking data management limits a company’s potential for longevity and competitiveness. In the modern business world, solid data management is the only way to keep up.
How Solid Data Management Can Help
With reliable data management, integration, and reporting, a company experiences several worthwhile benefits. Business users can instantly access the information they need, without wasting time sifting through useless data to reach it. This underpins better decision-making and increases adaptability in changing market conditions.
Well-managed data is also consistent and reliable, with no redundancies. This helps a company develop its single source of truth — helpful not only for internal decision-making and collaboration, but also when it comes to compliance and regulation.
Enable Self-service Business Insights
Empower users to perform self-service reports to become more data-driven. This opens new avenues for employees to discover sources of value and transforms your organizational strategy.
Logically, superior data leads to superior choices. Effectively leveraging data helps companies improve processes across their business, reduce costs, increase revenue, and drive profits. Ever considered the relationship between your company’s bottom line and how it’s managing its data? If not, this is a great time to start.
Easily Navigate Regulatory and Compliance Requirements
Organizations must manage their obligations more effectively. If a company is confident in the quality of its data, it doesn’t need to spend extra resources on preparing that data for accountants, regulators, and other types of oversight. Instead, they can report on data that will be clean from the moment it’s queried.
From Data Foundation to Digital Transformation
Fundamentally, if you want to transform your organization into a digital company, then you have to begin with a strong data management foundation. Our advice? Implement a system that works for your company and that your employees can easily understand.
At Cohelion, we believe that data management should be embraced, understood, and leveraged by everyone in your organization — whether they have an IT background or not. With the Cohelion Data Platform, we enable you to easily collect and combine data from your finance, operations, sales, and HR applications into a single platform — no coding or IT knowledge required. Give all your employees access to the valuable data they need to make informed business decisions and put your organization on the path to a savvy digital future.