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September 3, 2019
By Ian Peel
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Sustainability is a bit of a buzzword these days, but like many buzzwords that came before it the principle is actually incredibly powerful if you are able to implement it effectively. There are many different facets and meanings to sustainability, but in business it generally means sorting out your existing organization so it is manageable now but also future-proofed.
When it comes to your data, this is fine if you’re starting an enterprise of scale right now and can therefore lay your virtual hands on all of your data immediately and easily.
For those of us not starting from scratch, read on.
Remarkably few businesses arrive fully formed in this way, and if any do exist then only a tiny subset will have all of their technology sorted out on day one. The more likely scenario, with which CIOs and CTOs will be all too familiar, is that the enterprise for which they work started decades ago – more than a century in a few instances!
This means data will have been held in various media – paper, a centralized computer in the dumb terminal days, a network of PCs in the client/server days, peer to peer networks, individual workstations with slightly different versions of every document (when was that ever a good idea?)… and now it’s inching into the area of blockchain. That’s before we start to address the history of ERP and CRM and the different systems on which data will have been stored.
Without the right ERP, for example,you simply can’t read the data, so this is where we make our happy way through spreadsheets and operating systems (different versions, and sometimes different applications entirely if the business has acquired other companies or merged with them), Lotus Notes gateways, different levels of emails, related systems such as CRMs, open systems (which were anything but open), Windows NT and goodness knows what else.
The thing is, this confusing array of data is a very real problem, and it can affect your corporate performance now and sustainability for the future.
Because, in spite of the hype, data really is important to major enterprises. The right analytics can help forecast different client behaviours and spend. They can work out what customers (and staff) are going to do next and offer other valuable insights into the business.
It’s also important to get this data in front of the right people at all times and in a manner that’s easy to read and digest. Not all colleagues have the ability to decipher and comprehend everything when it’s in a particular format and it’s not a great use of an IT team’s time – or budget – to be gathering report data or building dashboards based on what an educated guess tells them heads of department in other disciplines might – note, might – want.
COOs, for example, need management insights at all times. They need to understand what’s going on and when and they need it in real time, as does the finance team, as does the logistics team – the list is long. The way to achieve this is through an intelligent data warehousing system that will collate all of the disparate data sources and present them graphically and sensibly to people without computer degrees.
Better still, it allows non-technically-minded people to design their own interfaces so they get to decide what they see and how; that way they receive exactly what they need rather than depending on the IT manager’s guesswork. This all starts with the right tool.
Fortunately, ZAP Data Hub is just such a business intelligence and data warehouse facility. The case studies on our site are testament to how we are able to take a complex array of information and get it to the right people in a timely fashion.
Your data really can transform your business and make it more sustainable if it’s deployed correctly. Just as long as you can get at it, that is. And that’s exactly how we can help. Get in touch with a member of our team to learn more.
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