No matter what industry you’re in, data is essential to what you do. According to Forbes, the average company spent $7.4 million on data-related initiatives in 2015 , with 80 percent of enterprises and 63 percent of small and mid-sized businesses making an investment.
But it’s important to realize that data only adds value when it’s properly collected, organized, and analyzed. And when it doesn’t meet those standards, it can actually be more of an obstacle than an opportunity. To determine if your own data is stifling progress, ask yourself the following questions:
Is Your Data Trapped in Silos?
On a macro level data has huge potential value. But on a micro level, its value is very limited. In order to get the most out of all the data at your disposal, it needs to be available to everyone regardless of their title or department. For instance, if your sales and marketing departments cannot share and collaborate on the same data, your relationships with clients/customers may become confusing, incomplete, or inaccurate. Tools that integrate data from across your enterprise and authorize access to a greater number of shareholders, reveal insights and opportunities that would otherwise be invisible.
Is Your Data Out of Date?
Current data adds the most value to your organization. These facts and figures indicate the state of your company now, not a week, month, or year ago. For obvious reason, current data is always the data you’ll want to act on. Unfortunately, updating the numbers is a time and labor-intensive process. And even after updates are made, not everyone may be able to reference those updates. At best this creates an inconvenience, and at worst it puts your enterprise at risk of serious mistakes and failures. A system through which users can make inputs that are visible to all keeps everyone on the same page.
Is Your Data Stuck at the Office?
Your business is not limited to the walls of your office, but your data may be. When members of your team travel to meet with clients, attend conferences, or work from home, do they have access to all the same data and applications they do at their desk? If not, they are at a significant disadvantage, and others will notice. The tools and information that have value in the office have just as much value elsewhere. Adding mobility to your data with something like cloud ERP (enterprise resource planning) ensures that it can generate value anywhere and everywhere without restrictions.At this point, data optimization is not just an option, and it’s not just an advantage – it’s an imperative. The strategy has become so ubiquitous that any company that chooses not to prioritize it puts itself at a significant competitive disadvantage. Take a hard look at your organization, and ask yourself whether data is a tool or a trap