When it comes to your company’s data, ensuring you have a plan in place to store, access, present, and process that data is important. After all, you can’t successfully run a business if you can’t understand how your business operates. Business Intelligence solutions are key to managing your company, and at CQL, our Business Intelligence team provides the tools to manage, interpret, and better understand your data. You may be asking yourself, “how do I begin?” Although the answer to that question varies, we can begin by looking at a couple of benefits associated with developing an effective data strategy.
Develop Clear Rules for Your Data
These days, businesses are generating more data than ever before. Knowing what data is strategically important and what data is transitory will make a large difference in how much time is spent storing and processing this information. This process helps us understand what rules to follow when determining whether the information is strategic and what information is more transitory.
Let’s say you are working for a manufacturing company that is tasked with grinding and smoothing a metal-cast component. The production process calls for a grinding time between 1 to 1.5 seconds to get the proper finish on the product. Each part has its processing time captured and checked to make sure that the machine is running within the tolerance of the specification. Knowing the grinding time of every part would be a transitory piece of information. Details gathered from the operator and machine level are needed to keep the equipment operating properly but this data would not have much value outside the time of operation.
A strategic piece of information would be the average, minimum, and maximum grinding time for a production lot. This would tell us information that we could use to determine the quality of the parts without causing extremely large amounts of information to need to be stored.
Knowing what type of data you are working with can help you best determine the effort a development team needs to spend to process the data and determine how long the information needs to be retained. Without proper strategic definition, development time and storage resources could be allocated incorrectly. This could then result in costs that offer no payback for the effort to retain them.
Accurate Data Retention Definition
As stated above, we are generating more data than ever. Storage of information keeps going down but there is always a price to pay. Knowing how long different data sets need to be retained directly impacts the type of size of storage needed and the access performance metrics required. The costs here are directly related to cloud service storage fees and/or on-premise SAN system and the type of equipment needed for handling the information in an efficient manner.
Develop a Clear Enterprise Data Organization Definition
Defining your data strategy leads to a clear definition of how your enterprise data is organized. When a company has a clear understanding of their data organization, it greatly assists with data usage, accessibility, and the following:
- Owners are clearly defined and given responsibility for data quality
- Data rules are properly formatted
- Addresses are standardized
- Currency values are set to proper decimal formats
- Customer names are cleaned and validated
- Report authors know where to go to obtain the proper data and no longer have to run around to multiple business units or departments to determine who has what data and how to aggregate it
- This results in a reduction in time to generate accurate reports
- Basic aggregations are created to handle standard rollups of data to improve accuracy and report run times
- Data access rules are clearly setup and defined, which provides the proper people access to the proper information
Improve Your Data Visibility and Usage
Once the data has been collected, the rules have been applied, and proper data retention setup is completed, the availability of the data throughout the company greatly changes. Depending on the type of analytics/reporting tools that are selected, users can have direct access to the data. Now, the information is in a consistent format that is documented and ready to use. Users can utilize the data and provide visibility to consistent and complete information across the company.
All of the work involved in setting a solid data strategy is aimed at one important goal: possessing process and company information that everyone in the business can rely on.
Securing a Data Strategy that Benefits Your Business
As you embark on the best data strategy for your business, know the professionals at CQL have your best interest in mind. With over 25 years in developing BI strategies and systems that best fit our client’s needs. Have more questions or need more information? Get in touch with one of our BI experts today.