By the time you finish this paragraph, 5,000 credit card transactions will have settled; nearly 50,000 instagram pictures will be uploaded; 350,000 tweets posted (or retweeted); and 3.8 million Google searches will have taken place. The amount of data that people share and companies process today is incredible. But most often than not, that’s the only thing they’re doing to data—processing it. And you’d be surprised there’s a lot of data that’s just sitting there, waiting to be actioned.
Most companies today spend too much time collecting data, and not enough time analyzing it to inform their strategies or make data-backed decisions. By the time the most complete and accurate data can finally be tracked down, compiled, and analyzed, it is too late to make any changes to their business trajectory.
There are ways to prevent this problem, and with the right technology it is possible to improve a data collection and analyzation process to provide real-time insights into financial data that sets companies up to flourish.
Characteristics of Reliable Data
For businesses’ data to be at its most useful, it should be:
- Real-Time. Business leaders must be able to quickly respond to their current trends, whether it’s operational or financial. For finances specifically, having access to real-time insights makes financial data analysis more of an inconsequential post-mortem exercise than an anticipatory strategy session.
- Accurate. Authentic data is essential for executives and decision makers to be able to effectively make informed decisions.
- Resilient. Flexible, enduring data can assist company leadership with spotting trends, further improving the business’ ability to adapt and plan for nearly any circumstance.
Barriers Preventing Businesses from Accessing Data
Developing available and efficient data processes that lead to actionable analysis and insights are challenging. Many businesses struggle with this because:
- Data comes from many different sources. Coordination between departments and collation of data make it a challenge to compile all of the information in one place for a team to easily access and understand.
- Data is in disparate formats. Many companies still use Excel sheets to collect and compute financial data; other companies have custom built on their own APIs, but they don’t connect to external vendors or third parties. This interferes with gathering and interpreting the complete and most accurate picture of data.
- Data that’s flawed. A single mistake in manual data reporting, logging, or compiling has the potential to create a devastating outcome for businesses. Ever seen a #REF! error in an Excel file? Typically, that’s indicative of a larger problem from a manual-input error, and the data flowing through a model may not be entirely accurate requiring hours of extra work to track down issues and rectify them.
Benefits of Automating Data into One Place
If a company can adapt a system to automate all of its data from varying sources and format with multiple API connections into a single platform, the benefits to leaders throughout the company are endless. In addition, they will enable the following:
- Movement from manual tasks to transformative business strategy. If a business can automate their data process effectively and intuitively, leadership can better analyze the data and determine the best strategies for the company moving forward.
- Democratization of data. It’s important for business leaders across numerous departments and the C-Suite to have access to a comprehensive, yet simplified view of data. Easily accessible data will keep everyone aligned to improve collaboration and take leaps toward the business’ long-term goals.
- The embrace of a true data transformation. Taking data from disparate sources and providing the total picture quickly, accurately and effectively in a single easy-to-use and accessible platform is the future of true digital transformation. Being flexible and adaptable is necessary for a business to prepare for any financial uncertainty.
As data flow processing and forecasting become more complex in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with forbearance and other government-imposed programs complicating a company’s data further, businesses will need to develop methods of centralizing their data to improve accuracy, efficiency and adaptability. In implementing the right technology to assist with this, company teams will have improved visibility into necessary metrics that allow accurate reaction to the current financial picture and empower them to confidently and proactively plan for the future.
Written by Joseph Drambarean. Have you read?
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