How a digital transformation strategy promotes a strong data culture

Selecting the right data integration tools is only the beginning of the journey to put healthier data at the center of your business. Running your organization on healthy data isn’t just about the software you choose — you should also incorporate a digital transformation strategy to organize your teams and ensure that healthy data remains at the heart of the organization. By developing a company-wide digital transformation strategy — which includes fostering a strong data culture and enabling collaborative data management — you will be able to achieve better business outcomes.

What is a digital transformation strategy?

Digital transformation is an essential business initiative (or series of initiatives) that refers to all the ways companies implement digital technologies to streamline their business processes and improve their operational efficiency. Because of the pandemic, many organizations have needed to embrace new business models and change fundamental business processes in order to adapt and succeed. And while new technologies and advances in areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation can provide new opportunities to accelerate the digital transformation process, they all rely on data that is accurate, accessible, and trustworthy. Successful digital transformation projects will build processes on top of healthy data that can help you meet your business objectives.

Digital transformation strategy framework

To get buy-in from stakeholders, it’s important to create a strategic framework that can act as a roadmap and demonstrate how proposed digital transformation initiatives will help meet business objectives. Regardless of which metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) your digital transformation strategy takes into account, there are four essential elements to consider if you want your transformation to be a success.

  • Closing the business/IT divide should be a primary outcome of any digital transformation framework. When business and IT teams are not aligned or communicating about their individual or shared objectives, your organization can become a breeding ground for siloed data and operational inefficiencies — both of which have a severe, negative impact on operational data. The best way to keep this from happening is to create built-in collaboration for developers, data scientists, analysts, and operations to break down and prevent silos, and work together across the entire data lifecycle.
  • Building a strong data culture is a key driver of getting business and IT on the same page. The most successful shared data cultures depend on strong data literacy (skills to understand, share, and use data) and promote data democratization (removing barriers and expediting the broad use of data). When everyone in an organization can access and share trusted data, it’s easier to make better data-driven decisions.
  • Scaling up dramatically can make trusted data accessible throughout the organization. IT needs to be able to give huge numbers of people access to trusted data in a managed and governed way (a practice referred to as establishing data excellence). By focusing on delivering data trust and confidence while enforcing internal data policies and complying with external regulations, organizations can promote a healthy data environment where data is easily discoverable, understandable, and of value to the people who need to use it.
  • Leaving no data behind will deliver the most value to your organization. As data volumes and environments grow more complex, that becomes increasingly challenging. Using one platform for multiple use cases like data integration, quality, preparation, and stewardship can help simplify data ecosystems, making it easier to manage corporate data and deliver higher data value.

Collaborative data management to support your strategy

The demand for data integration across the enterprise pulls IT in different directions, and a digital transformation strategy can help focus their efforts. If IT doesn’t have the resources to provide other employees access to the information residing in corporate data lakes, employees will — just as they do in this BYOD era — find a workaround that will likely put enterprise information at risk. To avoid that scenario, IT needs to provide self-service access to data across all lines of business, but in a secure way to prevent exposing company assets to unnecessary risk. They must adopt a model of collaborative data management.

As illustrated in the four steps above, implementing a digital transformation strategy requires a new mindset around handling data. The cultural transition from authoritative to collaborative management and governance of company data might be hard. This can be an opportunity for IT departments to create a system of trust around enterprise data, in which employees collaborate with IT to maintain or increase the quality, governance, and security of data.

The promise of healthy data

The effort to make a strong data culture part of your digital transformation strategy starts by breaking down the technological and psychological barriers between enterprise data keepers and information consumers. The result: everyone within the organization shares the responsibility of securing enterprise data.

The greatest challenge — and enabler — for this model has always been trust. Information used to be designed and published by a very small number of data professionals targeting their efforts to consumers who were ingesting the information.

Today, the proliferation of data within companies is uncontrollable. We’re all experiencing the rise of a growing number of cloud computing applications coming through sales and ecommerce platforms, marketing, HR, operations, or finance that complement centrally designed, legacy IT apps such as ERP, data warehousing, or CRM. Digital and mobile applications connect IT systems to the external world. And Internet of Things (IoT) devices generate explosive volumes of real-time data that many organizations must contend with. To manage these new data streams, we are seeing an increase in data-focused roles emerging within corporations, such as data analysts, data scientists, and data stewards — which are blurring the lines between enterprise data users and providers.

Delivering a system of trust through collaborative data management and self-service is just one of the opportunities of a digital transformation strategy. Much like trust between consumers and their service providers has been established by crowdsourced mechanisms for rating, ranking, and establishing a digital reputation (like Yelp or other social media-based review platforms), organizations can adopt similar strategies to enjoy the same positive returns. Through self-service, line-of-business users become more involved with the actual collection, cleansing, and qualification of data from a variety of sources, so that they can then analyze that data and use it for more informed decision making.

Start your digital transformation journey today

Collaborative data management is a way for IT to promote a strong data culture and help ensure that the quality, security, and accuracy of enterprise information is preserved in a self-service environment. It is a critical part of a digital strategy that allows employees in an organization to correct, qualify, and cleanse enterprise information. IT can create governed workflows to provide models for this collaborative, governed data stewardship. The master data records are therefore updated by the people most familiar with them.

Additionally, fostering the crucial shift to more business user involvement with an organization’s critical data delivers real business value. For example, users save time and increase productivity when they work with trusted data. Marketing departments improve their campaigns. Product teams make more informed decisions when designing new products. Call centers work with more reliable, accurate customer information to deliver better customer experiences. And business leaders identify new revenue streams and develop business strategies that maximize revenue growth. And all of this starts with the enterprise getting better control over its most valuable asset: data.

Talend supports digital business transformation initiatives with a suite of enterprise-grade data integration, integrity, and governance capabilities that enable you to manage all your enterprise data within a single environment. With Talend’s no-code and low-code modules, your data experts and business users can actively collaborate to make data more discoverable, usable, and valuable across the entire organization. Request your free trial and get started today.

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