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Escaping from data lockdown with a digital evolution

With data amassing at an exponential rate, digital transformation continues to be throttled as businesses struggle to achieve the insight they need from the data. To achieve value from data, businesses need to be able to access what they need, when they need, by the right people, in a usable format. Peter Ruffley, CEO, Zizo. has previously detailed the first three aspects businesses should consider to get out of data lockdown, including data access, responsibility and outcomes. With the data readily available and the company goals in mind, businesses need to ensure that the data they’re analysing will be of value and help them meet these objectives.

Here, Ruffley highlights two further aspects for businesses to consider before they can move forward in their digital transformation journey. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to suit every company, by having available and structured data with an open and flexible culture, organisations are in a much stronger position to take on this critical shift and escape from data lockdown.

Data structure and analysis:
Data must be structured for purpose – clean and consistent data will lead to better decisions and an easier transformation. There are many whose skill set is structuring data and building data structures; but because of their fixed belief on how they think things should be done, it can be a choke point for digital transformation. You have to be prepared to follow a business objective, even if it may apparently contradict some of the deeply held beliefs of your IT colleagues, or if the data tells you something that goes against your intuition, rather than derailing the process.

Digital transformation isn’t a one-change process, but instead, a number of transformations will need to be made and augmented with other sources of structured data – it should be conducted as an ongoing rolling programme of incremental changes and additions. That adaptability to absorb other sources of data and find other business value is what this is all about.

It’s not digital transformation, it’s digital evolution. Some things may not go 100% to plan, therefore, you have to change and adapt based around those models. And just because every decision can be driven by data, does not mean you have to analyse all the data before you take each step. There is a case for paralysis through analysis; if you try to look at everything, you will end up doing nothing. An agile way of doing things and trying something small to see if it works, using the tools and techniques for when we want to scale up or down will enable smaller steps towards transformation to be taken faster.

Business value and collaboration:
The key to digital transformation success is collaboration and flexibility. Businesses need to be flexible enough to digitally transform the marketplace. The tools, techniques and technologies exist, but there are only some organisations that are going to be smart, quick enough and united to actually take advantage.

By distinguishing ownership and having a sense of collaboration within your company culture, the barriers to digital transformation will be diminished as team members acknowledge the changes that are going to be made to the business as a result of this transition. Without everybody on board, the transformation will not work. Technology is just one part of the process underpinning these changes – having an open attitude towards the use of data within the organisation is a necessity.

People need to trust the data they’re using through provenance and understanding the business rules and objectives. Rather than trying to impose a rigid framework, using data as the foundation provides you with trusted evidence and reasoning, backed up by other areas of the business. If you’ve got a dialogue supported with data that you trust, stakeholders will buy into the initiative.

Organisations can’t expect the deployment of tools and technologies to change their business overnight, but by having a more open and collaborative attitude towards the use of data within the organisation, underpinned by new tools and technology, a digital evolution can progress in the right direction.

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