Businesses are creating and collecting data significantly faster than before. Unfortunately, data can hurt businesses more than it helps if different departments or business applications process it in silos. In order to turn data into an asset, companies must engage the people providing it, keep it updated, and improve interdepartmental communication.
As companies add more business applications to their digital ecosystems, they may encounter duplicate, inconsistent, or incomplete information. Organizations’ teams can become siloed when using disparate tools, causing collaboration to plummet. When this happens, data isn’t utilized to its full potential. Moreover, varying permission controls between applications can create data security and regulatory challenges.
According to a Gartner report, poor data quality costs businesses an average of $12.9 million yearly. This begs the question: Is corporate data an asset or a liability? Data can be an asset when information is complete, timely, and accurate. Otherwise, it becomes a liability, existing in silos that consume too many resources and impede intradepartmental collaboration.
Luckily, you can turn your data into an asset. Here are three questions you should ask to help you get started:
- How can you better engage the people providing the data to increase its quality?
Integrating business applications and normalizing legacy data is only part of the solution to poor data quality. As a company leader, you must also motivate the people who provide the data to be better ambassadors. This includes employees, customers, and vendors, among others.
People are motivated to create better data when they understand what’s in it for them. Say customers want consistent treatment across your organization, and when they interact with different parts of your business, they don’t want any surprises. If they know that the data they provide will ultimately impact their experiences, they’ll be more likely to comply with data collection requests.
What does this look like in practice? T. Scott Law, founder and CEO of end-to-end revenue cycle management provider Zotec Partners, explains that his company coaches its provider partners to improve data quality.
“By partnering with providers on the importance of patient engagement and coaching on proper data collection, we’ve improved processes that make a real impact on the financial experience,” says Law. “The seamless flow of fast and accurate data helps us to optimize everything from patient registration and coverage detection to claims management and compassionate collections. We share our data with our clients so they can benchmark their performance and better understand the trends regarding the financial parts of the revenue cycle.”
- How can you improve the data’s timeliness to aid company decision-making?
Corporate data is valuable when it can be relied upon for critical, timely decision-making. Research finds that nearly 90% of companies say data is critical for success. Yet 82% of companies rely on stale information. Organizations must utilize timely, accurate data to better understand the past and predict the future. “In my field of marketing, business analytics and real-time data help marketers and business leaders make decisions based on real-time campaign performance,” says Elyse Flynn Meyer, president and founder of Prism Global Marketing Solutions. “Being able to quickly see what campaigns are driving brand awareness, qualified leads for sales, and customer conversion helps marketers optimize campaigns to improve metrics and drive measurable business results. This helps to reduce marketing spending by focusing on the right channels and tactics driving optimal performance while improving overall ROI and revenue impact.” Your employees and vendors need easy access to updated information to fulfill their responsibilities. If they’re making decisions based on stale or poor-quality data, then you’ll lose your competitive edge.
- How can you eliminate communication silos to drive collaboration?
“In some cases, your data silo might result from your company culture. And a culture shift might be exactly what you need to break down data silos,” says Kelly Kirwan, content marketing manager at Segment. “Departments should be encouraged to learn from one another’s data on an ongoing basis instead of teams like product and marketing only meeting when it’s time for a launch.” Employees and managers who cling to a silo mentality must empathize with their peers. It will help them better serve the company as a whole. As a leader, you should help people see the bigger picture beyond their day-to-day responsibilities.
Many training exercises foster better internal corporate communications and enhance cross-team collaboration. If your business struggles to break down data silos, implement a program where designated managers and employees spend time observing other departments. Understanding how different departments can benefit from improved information sharing can foster collaboration, respect, and empathy.
Businesses need to be vigilant about data to ensure it doesn’t become a liability. By engaging the people who provide the data, improving timeliness, and breaking down silos, you can ensure your company benefits from the information it collects.
Written by Rhett Power.
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