Driving action with data in 2023 and beyond

 A wall of data on a large screen.
A wall of data on a large screen.

There’s no denying how much the pandemic reshaped our professional and personal lives with the likes of the gig economy, digital content streaming, and working from anywhere, once thought impossible, now being part of the fabric of our day-to-day lives. What businesses must understand is that we are now at the precipice of another change with new advancements—like Web3, quantum computing, and 5G—poised to build an entirely new world. At the foundation of that new world is data.

It's no secret that data is becoming more and more important to businesses, and we are living in the 'decade of data'. However, it's clear that brands are still struggling to use their data to drive action. And even more critical, there is still the misuse of data happening at a massive scale that can be incredibly damaging, disrupting business development or even leading to hefty fines.

Ultimately, businesses are still at risk of making common mistakes when it comes to data management. They must take action now and take a proactive approach to addressing these issues to embrace the full potential of data and make significant advancements this year.

So, what are the three overarching elements brands need to understand when it comes to data and being able to successfully adapt?

Getting out of the legacy data mindset

Many larger enterprises, which have not been built in the cloud, are using old, brittle architecture, and are reluctant to part ways with their legacy tech such as business intelligence (BI) tools of the last decade. These BI tools are built for the IT infrastructure teams and only allow the analyst to use static dashboards preventing businesses from building an easy-to-deploy modern data stack, which has proven to completely transform businesses in today’s fast moving data-driven world.

Traditional BI tools focus on what happened in the past. Requirements have totally changed the playing field and the business needs more. Today, with foundational language models like GPT, any knowledge worker can now have the power to ask not only what happened, but also why it happened and what they can do to take action. Businesses on the leading edge realize they need to harness technologies that take advantage of large language models (LLMs) like GPT to empower their entire workforce with a modern analytics experience in which they can simply and in seconds find new insights and visualizations based on live data via natural language search. The true difference is doing this without sacrificing accuracy, reliability, governance, or security in the process.

Putting the data in the hands of all employees

Historically, businesses have enabled data analytics professionals to play and work with their data. However we have seen so many examples of the front line business user being starved of answers due to this restrictive process.

Modern cloud data platforms allow leaders to gain real-time insights and embed analytics across any part of the business which brings the ability for users to use data in every aspect of their work bringing data closer to actions.

Forward thinking data leaders are now relinquishing control by providing full data access to employees across their business. Making this change requires a cultural mindset shift to trust, transparency and lineage.

But! As you’re asking people to do something fundamentally different with how they use data, people change management is critical to drive success. Without a plan focused on people as well as process change, adoption goals won’t be hit and without great adoption value won’t be created as fast.

Data privacy remains front and center

We’ve seen a raft of high-profile data breaches in the spotlight this past year which has fueled public concern around data privacy. As companies become more data-dependent, customers become even more reluctant to share data while many remain ignorant about the data being collected on them. It is this challenge that must be properly addressed in order to unlock data’s full potential.

Businesses must of course remain vigilant about how personal data is collected, stored, and used, as well as the implications of failing to handle this data correctly. In part, laws and regulations such as GDPR, CCPA and LGPD place stricter requirements on organizations, while giving individuals more access and rights around their data. This creates a tough paradigm.

However, a key element to addressing the challenge is ensuring data privacy is not just a technology issue, it’s also about company culture, processes, and controls. Part of that is bringing awareness to knowledge gaps and opening up the conversation around data privacy and protection with all employees.

The next 12-18 months will be extremely pivotal for businesses and leaders. It will be the more innovative thinkers that use technology to drive their decisions, who are agile and take risks who will thrive. The foundation of being able to accelerate with confidence is entwined with embracing the full potential of data.

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