Transforming data into a strategic asset means empowering your teams to have fast access to accurate data that they can put to action. Data and analytics are the key accelerant of an organization’s digitization and transformation efforts. Yet today, fewer than 50% of documented corporate strategies mention data and analytics as fundamental components for delivering enterprise value. 1
Organizations who want to compete in the emerging digital economy need to be strategic on how they go about analyzing and managing data. Companies know their data is a strategic asset and they want to utilize it to make smarter decisions; but the problem is it takes dedication, a cultural shift, empowered people, tight processes, and robust technology. Those who follow through however, will be the success stories of tomorrow.
Let us uncomplicate the process. These 5 steps will get you on a well-chartered course to turn your data into a strategic asset.
Step 1: Build a Data Strategy & Roadmap
Strategy without execution will fail just as execution without strategy will also fail. Moving towards a more strategic approach to capitalize on data is certainly attainable, and it starts with a Data Strategy. A Data Strategy addresses more than the data; it is a roadmap that defines People, Process, and Technology. Creating your strategy begins by addressing some critical questions and filling gaps quickly.
- What are your objectives and use cases that can turn data into an asset? Knowing your strategic business goals now (i.e. deposit growth, opening new branches, new products, digital channel alignment, etc.) and in the coming years will help your organization devise a living, breathing roadmap that aligns analytics with key business objectives.
- How can the credit union empower employees to use the data? If you empower employees through a high-performing culture, a vision of the future, open communication and access to data and analytics assets, you can accelerate delivery, improve quality, and drive user adoption and future success with data.
- Do you have the right processes and tools that ensure data is accessible and of high quality? Having a robust process and high-quality control disciplines that governs the overall management, usage, storage, monitoring, and protection of the credit union’s data is a critical step in the data strategy.
- Do you have the right technology that will enable the storage, sharing and analysis of data? As data becomes an even greater asset for the credit union, the ability to store large amounts of complex data in a unified, central database, known as a data warehouse
Step 2: Create Reliable, High-Quality Data Sets for Rapid Analysis
A vital step when transforming data into an asset is having a proper data collection system. The credit union can amass enormous volumes of data from several sources in a short period of time, but not all of that data is relevant for analysis. Start by defining the types of data that are important and which use cases will drive the greatest return. Meticulous data organization is pertinent for analysis, and it will enable you to remain in control of data quality while improving the efficiency of analysis. Data cleansing is imperative and will help to ensure data analysis is centered around the highest quality, most current, complete, and relevant data.
If your data is clean, well-organized, and free of silos, the next step is to segment your data for a more detailed and focused analysis. Going back to step number one, define your business objectives and use cases. Consider and plan for how the data will help you achieve this goal and segment the data accordingly. You can sort data into relevant groupings to analyze trends within the various data subsets.
Step 3: Use Information as a Competitive Edge to Drive Growth
In his book, Infonomics, Doug Laney explores countless examples of how organizations can assert economic significance from data. He dives into how organizations should measure, manage, and monetize information as a real asset. These 3 steps include:
Monetizing information starts with generating economic benefits from available assets to drive measurable business value.
Managing information is to apply asset management principles and practices to information.
Measuring Information is to practice gauging and improving information’s economic characteristics.
As Doug puts it, “most organizations have a better inventory of their office furniture than their information assets!” Clearly, the future of data is all about moving from volume, velocity and variety to monetize, manage and measure. 2
Step 4: Hire The Right Talent
Data is your organization’s second most valuable asset. The first is your people. Ensuring you have hired data savvy talent that understands how to mobilize data across the entire business ecosystem to serve customers and create valuable data products is the cornerstone of transforming data. As many data analysts and CIO roles evolve to focus less on system uptime and more on using data to drive the credit union forward, having the right data-savvy talent is key.
Data expertise must remain at the heart of a data-centric approach. Investment in core data skills is required to get maximum value out of data and technology, and to ensure that the right processes are in place to translate insight into financial gains.
Step 5: Build A Data-Oriented Culture
If your company’s culture does not inspire excitement about leveraging data in new ways to propel the credit union forward, then you will have a hard time achieving your business goals. Building a team who is dedicated to the organization’s success and focusing on new and innovative ways to use the data strategically will make all the difference. To build a data-centric organization, ensure you are cultivating an organizational culture around data. Treat data as an asset and give employees tools and empowerment to make the transformation. A few other ways to inspire a data-driven culture include:
Ensure data analysis is a key part of the leadership decision-making. Your management and leadership team will set an example that will trickle down throughout each tier of management and among employees, leading to lasting transformation.
Remove silos and make the data readily available throughout the credit union. Provide every employee access to the data, so they can perform their duties more effectively. Also be sure to educate your teams on the importance of data security, privacy and governance with proper protocols that all must follow.
View data as a key focal point of every decision and strategy. Encourage employees to routinely analyze data and then develop questions and observations from it—making it a rewarding part of their role.
Promote data literacy across the organization. When employees have the ability to read, understand, and communicate through the use of data they are more engaged in the process and vision.
Share data successes. Celebrating the individuals and teams behind successful outcomes is essential to promoting a healthy data culture.
If you can encourage and drive this cultural shift, invest in the right people, processes and technology, there is every chance that your data will be treated as the asset it truly is—and you and your organization will be well-positioned to reap the rewards that investing and nurturing your data can bring.
What about your organization? Do you have systems in place to effectively and consistently transform data into an asset that can dramatically benefit your organization and members? If not, The Knowlton Group would like to help. Learn More, www.theknowltongroup.com