The Data Wars: Why Every Company Must Be a Data Company to Survive

Everyone knows data is the lifeblood of innovation; it’s fueling digital transformations and it’s propelling day-to-day business. It has been said time and time again that data is an asset. People say: “Data is the new oil” or “Data is water” in every business environment. I believe that every company has unique data that supports its special business, services, products, and customers. I also believe that there is virtually unlimited capacity and opportunity to grow.

There is no real limitation on computing, storage, or bandwidth. Yet companies are still struggling to truly embrace data as an asset despite the fact that doing so can deliver business growth and competitive advantage and can also drive operational efficiencies resulting in lower costs and risk.

Cultivate a Data-Driven Mindset

This begs the question: Why are companies failing to use data as a business asset as quickly as they should? The short answer is they lack the data-centric culture required. What’s needed is an enterprise-wide data-driven mindset. And, to get there, companies must fundamentally shift the way they think about data and analytics. They must build an organizational structure to support the fact that data is in indeed an asset and that it plays a vital role in every corner in every area of their business. Aligning data and analytics practices with the lines of business and broader corporate objectives beyond new technology implementations is hard work and requires a mindset shift.

Forbes estimates that only 31% of Fortune 500 companies can be considered truly data-driven. Gartner attributes this low number to the ever-increasing variety in data.

In my experience, there’s more to the story.

Eliminate Silos

Too often, the burden is placed solely on IT teams to build and deploy data and analytics solutions. Most companies have legacy systems and data management approaches that are rooted in the past. IT is often divided into functional segments of Infrastructure, Data Management, Security, Analytics/BI, among others, making it difficult to move quickly to build out solutions that must include expertise from all these areas and also loop in business leaders. Another compounding factor: there is misalignment on business unit goals and the enterprise data strategy. Without first having a deep understanding of the impacted business processes or without a thorough analysis of the end users’ business needs or without a clear picture of how those users actually work in real time in real life, the IT solution often misses the LOB mark. Add to that, the differences in how teams in IT are incentivized versus their business counterparts. These are all critical inputs to making data and analytics solutions both useable AND sticky. When companies uncover how data can both support the business goals and be more successfully integrated into what employees do every day, new growth potential and innovation opportunities arise, future-proofed by scalable, extendable solutions built around their most valuable asset.

 Treat Data as an Asset

In the past year, in addition to the many challenges businesses have faced in terms of balancing priorities and costs, migrating workloads to the cloud, consolidating software applications, and delivering data and analytics projects that align to business goals, we have all had to deal with COVID-19. This forced companies to prioritize digital transformation initiatives – and at the core of those initiatives is their biggest asset: data. Right now it is more important than ever to get it right, to drive enterprise alignment around data, and to create the strong data and analytics foundation and culture needed in order to avoid rework, delays, and waste. According to a survey by 451 Research, companies that are spending more on data and analytics initiatives are seeing greater returns on those investments including achieving a higher rate of success with those initiatives. In fact, they indicate that those businesses that increased investment in data and analytics and who focused on making data-related culture improvements during the pandemic seem to be coming out ahead of the game.

To ensure data and analytics initiatives lead to better business outcomes, treat data as a valuable company asset, create a scalable data strategy that supports a data-centric culture of innovation, profitability, and customer experience, and you too can achieve new value and realize other enterprise improvements.

Axis Group has been helping customers do exactly this for decades. We can help your company get data driven®. We pride ourselves on supplying the necessary skills and thought leaders to fit our customers’ needs. From our leading user-centered design approach that addresses both business and IT needs to identifying and prioritizing the highest-leverage business problems, we are focused on delivering solutions to produce the greatest business impact. While implementing industry-leading technologies, our highly trained consultants take a holistic approach to problem solving and are fully equipped to handle the toughest data challenges. We have been helping our customers treat data as the valuable asset that it is for nearly 25 years and we are ready to serve you. Contact us to schedule a free Data Discovery Session today and find out how to put an end to the data wars happening inside your company.

Ranjan_Sinha-1-1About Ranjan

Ranjan Sinha is President of Axis Group. Through his leadership, Axis has integrated design thinking, innovation, and thought leadership into our customer success approach. Ranjan helps customers and leaders thrive in their careers, navigate change, and achieve better business outcomes.