Why the path to digital transformation starts with your data strategy

More and more businesses are waking up to the significant opportunities that embracing artificial intelligence (AI) could offer – from improved customer service to increased productivity. But simply not knowing where to start on their digital transformation journey can often hold them back.

A major benefit of AI is the potential to use new technology to gather fresh insights from data. If that sounds like something your company could benefit from, the best place to embark on your digital transformation journey is by creating the right data strategy. A strategy that will harness all the information typically gathered and processed by today’s businesses in a clear and useful manner.

But where do you start when creating a robust data strategy?

Think about storage

Identify where your data is stored – and how. Think about all potential formats, from emails and documents to databases. Without a clear view of your data, you could be missing out on all kinds of opportunities to utilise it, from coordinating customer offers to ordering stock in response to expected demand at different times of year.

Once you’ve finished your data audit, your next aim should be to keep all data within a centralised repository that’s easily accessible. Cloud-based services are ideal places to start, as they have a much lower capital outlay than attempting to store data using an on-site solution.

Ideally, organisations of all sizes should choose a platform that’s easy to scale – in both capacity and performance – and think about which format they need their data to be available in. Using a translation tool such as Kafka will make it easier for companies to manage data from different apps.

However, with so much important information held together in one place, the issue of security becomes more important than ever. A solid backup and recovery plan is therefore a vital element of any data strategy.

Time for a clean-up

In the day-to-day running of a business, it can be easy to forget to dispose of data that’s no longer used or of value. Not only is this very important when meeting GDPR regulations, it’s also a waste of time and money to store decades-old data that no longer has any benefit.

Finding this data and destroying it appropriately is critical to being able to manage all your relevant data effectively.

What do you need from your data?

Once you’ve gathered, cleansed and stored your organisation’s data in one secure place, the next step is to think about what you want from your data. What are the specific questions you need to ask? This is essentially about understanding and looking for the insights that will make the difference to your business.

Test those questions with a smaller data set to reveal whether you’re truly asking the right questions – and whether the right algorithms are being used to answer them.

The ultimate aim of any data strategy is to create a single point of truth. Achieve this and you are well on your way to embracing AI and all the potential benefits it has to offer your business.

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