Data is killing my business: a guide to surviving bad data

By Yusra Ahmad & Rob Wray | March 2023

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Sure, data can be tricky, but how dangerous is it really and can it kill your business? Yusra Ahmad and Rob Wray explore how to navigate the bumps, detours and delays on the treacherous road to destination data, complete with a preview of how their next gen data maturity platform and route-finder has started helping their clients establish where to start, map safe-passage to optimize their data, and support their decision-making.

The risks that data can pose to your business can come in various guises, starting with having too much of it!

Too much data

There is no doubt that data is a powerful tool for both good and bad, applied in some sectors to astonishing effect. However, as far back as 2018, Forbes estimated at least 90% of data on Earth was generated in the preceding two-year period. This exponential growth of data stands in stark contrast to the estimated fraction of this data that is ever actually analysed – less than 0.5%.

We can all agree that 166 “key performance indicators” is a contradiction in terms. Knowing how to cascade relevant data to the key stakeholders is a feature of a data-mature organization, ensuring data-owners and centralized reporting capability are not overwhelmed. This is where you can start to protect the value of your data.

Under-valued data

The importance of data as a commodity has long been part of business rhetoric and yielded as a powerful force. If you aren’t monetizing your data, you’re missing a trick or losing value.

The monetization of data, contrived by some as the “new oil” powering everything from meta-analysis to predictive analytics, is more tangible and real than ever before. From KPI dashboards to Chat GPT, data is working hard for us, but this canbe quite disparate. We’ve been shaping our research to get to the bottom of what poor data actually costs you.

Data foundations

In working with our clients, it’s clear that the data foundations needed to optimize services across a business can often be shaky, specifically, data literacy. This routinely presents in the form of too few resources, unavailability of the right skill sets, or poor access to the right technology. These issues can translate into high consultancy costs or poor interoperability of data within your business. Configuring your data interactively is key!

Interactive data

Data never sleeps. And while the individual risks above are significant, when you consider the interdependencies of people, tech and data, it can be challenging to identify possible failure points; particularly when and where they are happening. You can have the best CRM money can buy, but if your people are misaligned and your data is poor, solutions will always be suboptimal. In fact, an estimated 25% of all resources in every part of every organization are dedicated to the management of avoidable data-related activity. To be clear, this may not necessarily be fully dedicated roles but an aggregate of every employee’s effort to collate or procure, cleanse or mould data to deliver against their objectives. So, where to?

Mapping the way ahead

That’s all very well, but “killing” your business? Too emotive? Maybe. Consider, for example, the impact of poor data’s role in quite significant crises like the asbestos fallout, the Grenfell tragedy, and now a chronic damp and mould epidemic. The critical link between good data and risk avoidance is clear, but how do we get there?

There are some things you can do today to begin to map your way to better data-management, which allow the use of data to support decision-making, including:

  • Establish your starting point and where you want to be.
  • Define the type of data knowledge areas you need, e.g. governance, ethics.
  • Map out your direction including interventions for improvement.
  • Track progress and capability over time.

Easier said than done? Maybe not…

Data Clan and Acuity Data have come together to meet some of these challenges.  The result is our new online Data Management Maturity Assessment (DMMA).

Already being put to the test by some of our clients, the DMMA incorporates and builds on the key traditional models and then goes further.

Starting with your business outcomes and curating a comprehensive picture of your data maturity and the areas that you care about; your responses are plugged in to our route-finder to chart the shortest course to your target and sustainable data capability level.  DMMA simplifies the process, identifies gaps and, precisely because it suggests a route to improvement and interventions, is actionable.

The DMMA online self-assessment platform provides support in completing your assessment without the complexity of traditional models which can be impressionistic, often attract large consultancy fees, or tell you what you already know! It’s time to rethink data.

Rethinking data

Our view is that before investing in data, organizations should take stock of their existing capabilities and identify gaps based on their specific business goals. This ensures that any investment is targeted towards desired outcomes, including: 

  • Helping you define your data vision.
  • Driving improvement in the areas that matter most by focusing resources where you need them.
  • Leveraging data extracted from industry best practice and community knowledge to design your data strategy.
  • Savings on high consultancy costs through guided self-assessment.

Get yours today 

If your operating model is the vehicle transporting you to realize your service excellence and performance ambitions, then data is the engine!

Whatever your data journey, challenges or aspirations, one thing is clear: it is shorter and smoother as the crow flies, but for that, you need a map. Get yours today.

To book a free DMMA consultation and demo, email Yusra Ahmad or Rob Wray.

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