Itamar Ben Hemo is CEO and Co-Founder of Rivery, a platform that empowers businesses to unlock the possibilities hidden within their data.
Over the past few weeks, I have been involved in multiple brand positioning sessions with my marketing team. As part of this process, we tried to drill down into what people really need and want from data. More specifically, what would the ideal vision of data management or data orchestration look like? Quicker processes? Cheaper tools? Simpler features? While all of these are ways to express individual pain points, one of our realizations came in the form of two words that initially seemed conflicting: control and freedom.
Gaining control of data processes and managing their flow has become an increasing challenge for businesses. The “data tsunami” that companies are experiencing means they are desperately looking for tools, solutions and services that will help them control this unprecedented flow of data hitting them from all directions, sources and databases. It is no surprise that the data management market is poised for huge growth. A new report from KBV Research estimates that the global enterprise data management market will reach $133.4 billion by 2026.
Data control, however, is the tip of the iceberg. The ultimate goal of establishing processes and protocols to control data is to be able to unlock its value. Having access to data and insights is no longer a luxury but a necessity across most business disciplines. Teams and individuals are increasingly expected to use business intelligence and data as a guiding light to simplify and enhance virtually any decision. This is the end goal for most organizations: empowering their teams with the skills, tools and resources so they can freely unlock the value of business data.
You can’t control what you can’t measure. If you want to control data, you also have to be able to measure the impact (and cost) of not having your house in order. Research from Gartner, Inc. suggests that nearly 60% of organizations surveyed don’t measure the financial cost of poor quality data. This lack of control over data doesn’t only lead to missed opportunities or lower ROI but also holds companies from embracing a data-driven culture. After all, if unruly data isn’t accurate or accessible, what is it good for?
Can You Control 100% Of Your Organization’s Data, 100% Of The Time?
Governing and managing data is no small feat. Every company in the world is reliant upon an increasing number of data sources. Whether these are marketing insights, financial analytics or data about customer behavior and usage, making sense of it all is a never-ending challenge that most businesses have to grapple with.
In addition, increased scrutiny around data privacy, governance and compliance means that data can become a dangerous liability if left unmanaged. A lack of data control won’t only impact your profits but can also harm your reputation. For example, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency fined Citibank $400 million over persistent issues in risk management, data governance and internal controls.
While it might be impossible to analyze all data at your disposal, it is crucial to control and manage all your data sources. At its most basic level, this means knowing and understanding what you have and where it is. In its more sophisticated form, it could translate to having all databases and data sources that a business relies upon in perfect harmony and orchestration — where they align to create a single source of truth that can be accessed by anyone who needs it, whenever they need it for insight or further analysis.
This investment in having all your data under control is one of the most crucial decisions any CEO or executive board will make. However, data is not a static entity. It constantly changes and evolves — and so does the way it is used and interpreted. Because of this, the process of data management, control and orchestration is a dynamic one.
What Data Freedom Means For Businesses And For Every Employee
The only reason why companies should invest in controlling data is that it is the only way to then give their teams and individuals the freedom to use it and access it to help them inform some of their toughest business decisions. There is a higher expectation for employees to leverage data and business insights as part of their decision-making process. This is no longer just the case for marketing teams but also true for any other team or department that, in the past, didn’t traditionally rely on data.
Cloud computing and data storage has completely revolutionized the way businesses store, manage and access data. However, with great power comes great responsibility. While the capabilities of modern data platforms might be unlimited, there is still a data literacy gap across many organizations. As a result, on the one hand, employees will have to improve employee training when it comes to data and analytics skills. On the other hand, the biggest challenge for any company that develops technology in the data space will be to create simpler, more intuitive solutions that anyone can benefit from. There is still a sense of fear across companies every time data or insights are discussed. For most people, it’s still something that experts are responsible for gathering and presenting.
Data freedom means accessibility and having the tools and skills to get it independently when needed. In a world where so many things are increasingly on-demand and in real time, business insights should be the same. Today, we don’t have to wait for the TV schedule to stream our favorite show, and we are no longer restricted to table availability in a restaurant to get our favorite food delivered — all with the click of a button. This is exactly how control and freedom should also feel for data.
For myself, it was what Oprah Winfrey would call an “aha moment”: understanding that control and freedom are two sides of the same coin — and the type of data overhaul most organizations need right now.
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