Inaccurate and unstructured data are two of the most predominant challenges businesses endure when it comes to making data a viable asset. There is, however, an additional issue that is both inhibiting to organizations and increasingly more important as we continue to shift towards a more data-driven world, and more so today, a more remote world. That issue is data accessibility.
Let’s break this down more. Organizations of all industries and sizes are using data on a daily basis, inherently and intentionally. However, we must first account for the issues first brought up – inaccurate and unstructured data. According to Experian’s 2019 Global Data Management Research, organizations believe 29% of their data is inaccurate, on average. Moreover, the barrier of unstructured data sets an additional layer of risk. Less than 1% of unstructured data is analyzed or used at all; and less than 50% of structured data is even actively used in decision-making. This presents an even greater concern for the many companies that are only capable of accessing data is already structured.
Now that we’ve dug a bit deeper, it’s evident that data availability does not equate to data accessibility. Data can continue to grow in quantity and coverage; but to a business, it is only as valuable as it is accessible to those relying on it to be complete, accurate, and structured.
Making Data More Accessible
The work of pulling data to initiate the steps towards accessibility means ensuring it is both useful and usable.
- Useful for those needing value to interpret, influence, and drive insight-based decisions for the improvement of the business.
- Usable in that it removes the limitations of silos, obscure formats and lack of consistent organization; to instead be prepped for sufficient data cleansing and standardizing.
With these processes in place, businesses can be better equipped to optimize on more data of higher quality in much easier ways, expanding accessibility and value across the organization.
A trickle effect like this, of increasingly more accessible data, can then push businesses toward data democratization. How so? As this accessibility grows, businesses will want to ensure their teams have the bandwidth to cover proper data analytics; which means building skills across users and decision-makers of all types.
This opens the door to bridging the data gap for more end-users to draw insights and make decisions without a strictly technical background; decisions that influence financial performance, operational efficiency, customer experience, employee productivity, and stakeholder relationships.
Empowering this to come to fruition will require businesses to deploy ways that improve data analytics skills more universally.
However, that doesn’t always mean having to get everyone to the highest level of expertise – but instead getting everyone to a higher level of independent capability that drives continuous adoption rates. That being said, businesses that invest in a BI solution that focuses on ease of use and end-user experience are on the right path toward getting the most out of their data in all the various places it lives.
While training and learning curves are still to be expected, BI tools that provide impromptu data analysis more intuitively, streamline efforts that before relied solely on the responsibilities of IT and data specialists. It creates an impactful shift of time and resources towards other areas of data management that may be in need of attention.
Keeping in Mind Data Governance
Always critical, but more pressing in today’s unprecedented times that has led to an influx of remote workforces, is the assurance of data governance. As we talk about data becoming more widely accessible in an organization, it’s important to clarify: Data should not be limited to certain users, but users should be limited to certain data.
“Data Governance is a system of decision rights and accountabilities for information-related processes, executed according to agreed-upon models which describe who can take what actions with what information, and when, under what circumstances, using what methods,” according to the Data Governance Institute.
When practices and standards are in play for data governance, businesses are not diminishing the efforts that went into increasing data accessibility but are in fact ensuring greater security and streamlining efficiencies by having the appropriate prepped data sets/sources in front of the right eyes. A BI solution, such as iDashboards, keeps this in mind when creating custom user permissions and capabilities. IT teams can then work off a more sound security framework while improving organizational productivity by aligning the impact of applicable data sources/dashboards/charts/values to the needs of individual users or viewers (employees across departments and roles, customers, partners, etc.).
Benefits towards Scalability & Continuity
As we continue to connect in new ways, work remotely, and learn virtually, it’s important to discover opportunities that exist for your team to leverage what already exists in your pool of resources. For many, shifting from availability to accessibility does not have to require a complete overhaul from the get-go. Start small and build out tasks that are achievable in obtaining data from anywhere in your organization so you can capture, clean, and consolidate in a more scalable manner. Learn the power of automating manual data tasks, creating workflows, and scheduling ETL jobs. Pushing through the barriers of inaccurate, unstructured, and inaccessible data will in turn give longevity to empowered employees, satisfied customers, communicative leaders, and a complete adaptive business.
For further guidance on related topics we covered, learn about the importance and steps towards data preparation and data quality in these two previous posts here:
At iDashboards, we believe everyone has the power to succeed through data and make an impact on the work they do. If you’re interested in learning more about where to start, connect with us today.