Drowning in data

It’s no secret companies are tracking virtually every interaction with customers, partners, suppliers and employees, but did you know the average enterprise uses more than 450 different software applications to do it? Businesses are producing enormous amounts of data, but if they’re not putting it to work for them, it’s nothing more than a bunch of ones and zeroes.

You can’t improve what you don’t measure

If you could step back and take a holistic look at the data your organization produces, you’d discover it’s an extremely valuable business asset. A detailed analysis feeds your company’s strategic decision-making process, and acting on that analysis serves as an accelerant for business growth. Not only can your data help you determine trends, make projections and measure improvements, but you can also use it to identify opportunities for new revenue or cost savings within your business.

It comes as no surprise that organizations that can identify opportunities, make informed decisions and act more quickly than their competitors will gain and maintain an edge in the marketplace.

Unfortunately, the reality is that many organizations can’t get that big-picture view of their data in the first place, for a variety of reasons. These are just a few of the scenarios we see on a regular basis:

  • Data is siloed and duplicated in separate applications, inhibiting
    interdepartmental insights.
  • Incomplete, inconsistent or inaccurate data makes it difficult to
    understand or renders it useless—even detrimental.
  • Data is stored in different formats, making it challenging to aggregate.
  • Accessibility poses a barrier to quickly obtaining data in time for
    relevant decisions to be made.
  • Data is simply outdated.

Having so much data available and no clear picture of the story it tells is no different than endlessly scrolling through your Netflix queue, unable to choose from so many options. To paraphrase psychologist Barry Schwartz, too much choice can leave us paralyzed. If you’re not making timely, data-informed decisions, you can kiss your competitive advantage goodbye.

The modern data platform

The data platform is not a new concept. We’ve come a long way since the relational databases and SQL of the 1970s or the Excel data analysis and visualizations of the 1980s. The technology and tools for building these data platforms have improved leaps and bounds: We now have access to scalable cloud-based data warehouses and data lakes, powerful ETL and data streaming tools, accessible visualization and analytics platforms. We’re indeed entering a golden age of data platform technology.

Why, then, are so many organizations still struggling to organize and get value out of their data assets?

Finding the right team

With all the new tools, technologies, and methodologies available the biggest challenge of today’s organization is finding the expertise to be able to effectively deliver the modern data platform. Solving data problems demands a vast skill set you rarely find in a single individual and typically requires a multidisciplinary approach. You need a team with a combination of:

  • Software Engineers and Architects with deep technical system design and building experience;
  • Cloud Infrastructure Experts and Site Reliability Engineers who have the ability to monitor, maintain and automate technical infrastructure;
  • Data Analysts and Data Engineers with knowledge of current data tools and technologies, as well as mastery of data analysis techniques;
  • Business Analysts who have a deep understanding of the business domain and challenges; and
  • Scrum Masters and Project Managers with an understanding of current best practices for technology development and management.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with information, but with the right team in place, you can stop treading water and start moving your data-driven organization forward.

Zach Dwyer is a consulting manager in 27Global’s Denver office. Founded in 2008, 27Global designs, builds and operates custom software solutions for businesses of all sizes. We bring together experts from all disciplines of business and technology development – from consulting and software to data and SRE – ensuring our data solutions are leading-edge and all-encompassing. The perfect pairing of a local leadership with offshore pricing, 27Global has the business acumen to understand your vision and the expertise to build your software solution. To learn more, visit 27Global.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

13 Points