Conversations on AI, big data, Industry 4.0 are all around us, meaning it’s easier than not to jump on the data bandwagon. “It’s all about the data,” we are told. But is it?

Not if, for instance, you are failing to pause for thought about where and how you want to create value in your business, before turning to the data itself.

If you’re already half way down the data road, stop and ask yourself these three questions to help ascertain whether your data is really providing you with value:

  • How does your data growth relate to your firm’s growth?
  • Do you have the infrastructure in place to handle new and bigger data?
  • Is your organization’s mindset attuned to managing analytics? Your people need to want to use the tools and data you’re implementing.

Apart from failing to create value in the businesses, playing the data game can wrack up tremendous costs, from infrastructure, to people costs, to regulatory ones.

So, practically speaking, how can you turn your organization’s data from a liability to an asset? Here are some paths you might consider embarking on:

  • Creating systems for cleaning and governing data
  • Ensuring that you have the skillsets to both analyze data and interpret what the analysis means
  • Taking actions based on the recommendations of the data analysis

Contrary to the popular messaging, there are limits to the benefits that data can provide.

For instance, unstructured data formats foster entrenchment and propagation of individual organizational styles and deviations from the industry norms.

Companies need to ask the right questions, turn to practical frameworks, and pick up the appropriate tools in order to find the value in their data.

In doing so, they can improve how the organization leverages data for strategic decision-making and even reform their management and business operations. All of that is a far cry from collecting data merely to tick an R&D box and seeing losses along the way.

 

Professor Amit Joshi is leading the session Is data an asset or liability in your organization? at OWP liVe in November. 

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