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Selecting the right data integration tools is only the beginning of the journey as a data-driven company. Making your organization data-driven isn’t just about the software you choose — you should also incorporate a digital transformation strategy to organize your teams to ensure that data remains at the heart of the organization. By developing a company-wide digital transformation strategy — which includes making data a team sport and enabling collaborative data management — you will be better able to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive business environment.
4 keys to a digital transformation strategy
Once the technology is selected, these are the four things you must to do to build a digital transformation strategy for your enterprise:
- Close the business/IT divide: Create built-in collaboration for developers, data scientists, analysts, and operations to work together across the entire data lifecycle.
- Enable a data-driven culture: Put the right data in the right hands at the right time. Provide self-service apps tailor-made for every role.
- Scale up dramatically: Allow IT to give huge numbers of people anywhere in the organization access to trusted data in a managed and governed way.
- Leave no data behind: Use one platform for multiple use cases: Big Data, Cloud, App Integration, Data Prep, and Data Stewardship.
Collaborative data management to support the strategy
The demands for data integration across the enterprise pulls IT in different directions, and a digital transformation strategy can help focus their efforts. If IT doesn’t have the resources to provide other employees access to the information residing in corporate data lakes, employees will — just as they do in this BYOD era—find a workaround that could likely put enterprise information at risk. To avoid that scenario, IT needs to provide self-service access to data across all lines of business, but in a secure way to prevent exposing company assets to unnecessary risk. They must adopt a model of collaborative data management.
A new mindset for digital transformation
As illustrated in the four steps above, implementing a digital transformation strategy requires a new mindset around handling data. The cultural transition from authoritative to collaborative management and governance of company data might be hard. This can be an opportunity for IT departments to create a system of trust around enterprise data, in which employees collaborate with IT to maintain or increase the quality, governance, and security of data. The good news is that IT professionals have a blueprint from the companies that pioneered the use of the World Wide Web.
The concept of collaborative data management is similar to the Web 2.0 model, as it also revolves around user collaboration, sharing of user-generated content, and social networking.
The promise of trusted data for all
The effort to make data a team sport as part of your digital transformation strategy starts by breaking down the technological and psychological barriers between enterprise data keepers and information consumers. The result: everyone within the organization shares the responsibility of securing enterprise data.
The greatest challenge – and enabler – for this model has always been trust. Information used to be designed and published by a very small number of data professionals targeting their efforts to consumers who were ingesting the information.
Today, the proliferation of data within companies is uncontrollable. We’re all experiencing the rise of a growing number of cloud applications coming through sales, marketing, HR, operations, or finance to complement centrally designed, legacy IT apps, such as ERP, data warehousing or CRM. Digital and mobile applications connect IT systems to the external world. To manage these new data streams, we are watching new data-focused roles emerging within corporations, such as data analysts, data scientists or data stewards, which are blurring the lines between enterprise data consumers and providers.
Delivering a system of trust through collaborative data management and self-service is just one of the opportunities of a digital transformation strategy. As the Web 2.0 model evolved, trust between consumers and their service providers was established by crowdsourced mechanisms for rating, ranking and establishing a digital reputation (like Yelp). These same positive returns can be realized by enterprise IT departments that adopt selected strategies embraced by their more freewheeling consumer counterparts. Through self-service, line of business users become more involved with the actual collection, cleansing, and qualification of data from a variety of sources, so that they can then analyze that data and use it for more informed decision-making.
Collaboration on your most valuable asset
Collaborative data management is a way for IT to help ensure that the quality, security, and accuracy of enterprise information is preserved in a self-service environment. It is a critical part of a digital transformation strategy that allows employees in an organization to correct, qualify and cleanse enterprise information. IT can create governed workflows to provide models for this collaborative, governed data stewardship. The master data records are therefore updated by the people most familiar with them.
Additionally, fostering the crucial shift to more business user involvement with an organization’s critical data leads to numerous other benefits. For example, users save time and increase productivity when they work with trusted data. Marketing departments improve their campaigns. Call centers work with more reliable, accurate customer information, much to everyone’s satisfaction. All of this ends up with the enterprise getting better control over its most valuable asset: data.
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