The urgency of implementing enterprise data management strategies comes from an acute awareness that businesses need to put their data to work effectively to influence decisions and efficiency, ultimately helping steer the direction of the business.
An enterprise data strategy that is driven by a separate team from the C-suite, which is designing the business strategy, is a recipe for an unsustainable disconnect. As drivers, the executives will make sure that budgets can use new technologies and, most importantly, start effective change management.
Obstacles to the adoption of enterprise data strategies
Budgetary, infrastructure, and skill constraints are global phenomena, and Africa is no different. In most places, the less reliable or available connectivity gets the further away from major centers you go. But there are reasons to be optimistic. Starlink, for example, is available in Nigeria and Mozambique. This will make it much easier for businesses to use data more effectively and encourage them to use it more.
Corporate South Africa, despite energy challenges, has been more fortunate in that infrastructure has been more advanced and stable for a longer period of time. This has made it easier for businesses to realize that they need to spend money on data strategies to stay competitive and make good decisions.
Data literacy is also improving exponentially. Countries north of South Africa ask us for help with regression analysis and correlation coefficients these days.
Here are some of the crucial components of an enterprise data strategy:
Security is multi-dimensional, and data integrity is a crucial component. An organization that has poor data quality is going to make incorrect assumptions, which is a business and security risk.
End users are another important cog. Ensure the right people have the appropriate level of access to the right data. Beyond this, user education is paramount.
Good data governance should enable users to leverage their data in the most efficient way possible, while still ensuring integrity, security, and appropriate accessibility. There needs to be a healthy balance between access control and ease of access and use.
The keys are effectiveness and ease of use. An enterprise needs a platform that is as intuitive and uncomplicated as possible. There is little use in one department pulling data from a spreadsheet and another using some other BI interface. The data champions identified in the change management plan have an easier time helping colleagues when using a unified, intuitive platform.
Different levels of the organization need different levels of insight. An executive may want a bird’s-eye view, while another may request the “why” to drive important decisions. Platforms such as Qlik (https://bit.ly/3yQPIcX) allow users to delve deeper and then easily drag and drop charts to explain and narrate a business story. The same principle holds true when leveraging the predictive power of Qlik-extracting insights for the business must be intuitive and simple.
Lee Wearne is the Senior Business Intelligence Consultant at Insight Consulting (https://InsightConsulting.co.za/)