Data and Analytics: Delivering Clarity at a Time of Great Uncertainty

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TrueCue reveals the top data analytics priorities for 2021 and beyond

Looking back over the past year, it’s clear that for many organizations, regardless of size or industry, technology was invoked to survive the crisis. Much has been reported about the rapid migration to the cloud and the move to support remote working but according to James Don-Carolis, Managing Director of TrueCue, data, and the value which can be obtained from actionable, business intelligence, often acts as the differentiator between success and failure:

“Economic challenges will still make it problematic for businesses to get a full sense of what lies ahead but in order to traverse the current and post-pandemic landscape, those organizations able to make insight-driven decisions will be far more likely to prosper in the coming months and years.”

In light of this Don-Carolis, outlines three key data and analytics trends that will characterize the most forward-thinking businesses in 2021.

Quantifying the true value of ROI

“The focal point of quantifying ROI is so businesses can prioritize investment, but in reality, it can be quite hard for data and analytics initiatives. This is because some of the impacts are direct, such as time saved by automating repetitive tasks, whereas others are less tangible, for example the impact of making quicker and/or better decisions. However, this should not be a deterrent to quantifying impact, because the thought process required for the quantification can itself give benefit.

“Our opinion is before embarking on any data and analytics initiative, the range of likely benefits and business impacts should be discussed, understood and, to the extent possible, measured and quantified. This will also help the business prioritize different data and analytics initiatives. Our experience tells us investment is often mistakenly focused on the ‘visible’ elements (such as front-end dashboards), rather than the ‘behind the scenes’ elements (such as robust data management). In 2021 and beyond, successful business leaders should have their desired outcomes front and center of any initiatives, and then build data and analytics initiatives around these to ensure a stronger ROI.”

The rise of the Chief Data Office (CDO)

“The position of the CDO has evolved over time to embrace analytics and help facilitate digital transformation efforts. Today, the role has become much more aligned with strategic business objectives, responsible for a host of initiatives including revenue growth, cost optimization and mitigating risk. We are also seeing greater requirements for this role in smaller organizations too. Because of this, we expect to see a rise in the ‘decision data’ role.

This is where a team or individual takes responsibility for leveraging the insights extracted through data, before analyzing and transforming this insight into actionable information which can be used to aid business decision making.

“Importantly, this role should be separate from IT, Head of IT, or the CIO – with the best CDOs performing a hybrid role. Someone that understands how organizations work, paired with commercial elements of a business and understanding the end to the lifecycle of data and analytical projects.”

A smarter approach to data governance

“Whilst it is imperative data is handled in a safe and secure manner, an overcautious approach can result in data being only made available to a minority of users. Good data governance is about liberating information, so it can be shared in a secure and appropriate manner. Establishing a centralized, curated and governed source of non-sensitive data and a trust-based, risk-aware data-sharing model will become increasingly vital for unlocking the benefits of data analytics. Again, having a strong CDO or dedicated data team is key to preventing a company’s data becoming kept under lock and key.”

James concludes: “There are many benefits to improving data analytics maturity levels, including improved forecasting, generating better actionable insights and heightening your understanding of competitors. To progress in these uncertain times, it is critical business leaders continue to leverage the investments made into data initiatives, in order to facilitate smarter decision making and bring clarity at a time of great uncertainty.”

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