Bring Your Data With You

By Scott Taylor on Feb 12, 2021

When Data Is Portable, It Empowers Decision-Making Across The Enterprise

I have a stack of old PDAs. Remember that quaint acronym for a personal digital assistant? Anyone who had a PDA before smartphones probably has a few stuffed in a drawer somewhere. I only keep mine to stage a favorite stunt at family gatherings when I pretend to stumble, and my “phone” goes flying into the pool. There’s something very satisfying about hearing that small splash followed by the collective gasps—inversely proportional in decibels to the age of the astonished—my daughter shrieks, my father never falls for it.

Why can I stage this stunt and have no remorse? I am confident in knowing that even though my PDA is a relic, the data I put on it lives on. It has followed me all these years—contacts, addresses, calendars, notes (photos were never an option back then). In fact, the EXACT same records that I mastered on my first transition from analog address book to digital device have survived and continue to thrive in my current smartphone. It is the data inside that makes my new device useful.

The Data Was Always The Reason

Like my pile of PDAs, your enterprise likely has its own stack of legacy platforms and stand-alone systems. What my old PDAs and your legacy systems have in common is that the data is siloed. Like my address book, your legacy data needs to move to its next destination to be usable across your enterprise.

Now, you’re certainly going to be dependent on your legacy systems as you consider adopting new technology and plan for platform migration, and you may even need to keep those legacy systems running alongside your latest, greatest technology investment for a period of time because your business depends on the data. But, there’s a lot of data lurking in the recesses of your legacy system—not all of it good or useful. So, what data makes sense to migrate over to your new shiny system—and beyond into the wider enterprise?

The data that brought you so much value in your legacy system is the same data that needs to be moved into its new home. It’s that master data that helps you understand how all your disparate data fits together in an organized system-of-record view. Master data is what mobilizes your data to flow from system to system, old to new, marketing to sales, ops to finance, headquarters to field-level, local to global.

When data is structured around a shared understanding of each business entity you engage with, it can more freely circulate throughout the enterprise. The entire organization becomes equipped with the information needed to assess risk, seize opportunities and make the best business decisions—at scale.

Trusted Data Powers Your Business

This vision of data-sharing and data portability is within reach if your organization uses best-in-class enterprise workflow and data management solutions. “You must get trusted data to the systems that power your business faster and become more agile,” says Kerry Young, General Manager of Winshuttle EnterWorks. “Doing this will empower your business teams to test and scale new business models, channels, and tailor offers quickly.”

Are you focused on key initiatives such as a renewed commitment to transforming your customer experience or getting a holistic view of your most important data assets across disparate systems? How about quickly supplying your partners with accurate and complete content about your products? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll need to take the same critical step to achieve your goals—get your data into a form that can be shared across your enterprise and with your partners.

Your data must fit better—in more standardized structures. The data must align better—and be integrated with more applications from more sources. The data must be governed better—mastered through thoughtful and consistent stewardship.

As you think about getting the most value from your data regardless of the system you’re using, consider these words of wisdom:

  1. Bring your data as close to the decision-making process as possible, no matter where you are in the organization.
  2. Keep your data flowing. Master it to be portable—from system to system and from team to team; across departments, regions, and go-to-market areas; between you and your customers, vendors and partners.
  3. Create an iterative data-building process. Each new step should build off the old, with the machines doing the real work to deliver the most competitive advantage.

By the way, if you try the PDA-in-the-pool trick, please let me know how it goes. As your old PDA sinks to the bottom, you can enjoy the joke, knowing your data lives on—nice and dry!

About the author

Scott Taylor

Scott Taylor, The Data Whisperer, has enlightening countless business executives to the strategic value of proper data management. He focuses on business alignment and the “strategic WHY” rather than system implementation and the “technical HOW.” As Principal Consultant for MetaMeta Consulting he helps Enterprises and Tech Brands tell their data story. An avid business evangelist and original thinker, he continually shares his passion for the strategic value of master data through industry events, public speaking opportunities, blogs, videos, whitepapers, podcasts, cartoons, puppets shows and all forms of thought leadership. His new book – TELLING YOUR DATA STORY: Data Storytelling for Data Management is available now. He lives in Bridgeport, CT where he often kayaks in Black Rock harbor. He can also juggle pins and blow a square bubble.

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