Your company’s data landscape has to change from feudal to communal, an environment where everyone is a stakeholder and data is fully accessible to whoever needs it.

Mastery of Big Data and digital transformation initiatives is one of the greatest drivers of a successful enterprise transformation, but it’s not the only element. The real key is how your organization integrates data into both background and customer-facing functions to reveal and enhance channels, markets and revenue-boosting opportunities in the digital environment.

This level of evolution is a daunting undertaking, but it can be done. Businesses must be able to reshape raw data into meaningful information and then convert those insights into actionable initiatives. This starts with choosing the right tools, developing new metrics for success and internalizing a fresh set of values. While the exact implementation of an enterprise-wide digital transformation will depend on the specifics of your organization, the fundamentals of launching one remain relatively consistent.

Map Out the Journey

Embarking on a data-driven journey to improve your organization from top to bottom has to start with a transformation of your objectives. The overarching goal here is always to strengthen internal operations and optimize customer experiences across all channels, but the road map to get here must be created within a digital context. You must align your company’s objectives with technological solutions that make each step as efficient and effective as possible. Data is a big part of this, proving the fuel for digital tools and helping you plot important aspects of the game plan, such as customer journeys and supply-chain operations.

Taking this overview approach will also give you a better idea of how each step in the transformation is affecting all areas of the business so you don’t keep moving in a direction that seems good for one aspect of the organization and really bad for the other.

Revamp the Data Landscape

The Internet of Things is creating an ever-deepening connection between devices such as computers and mobile phones, televisions, wearables, web-enabled cars and even “smart buildings” that facilitates the collection and exchange of data. It enables organizations to cope with the ever-growing inflow of information from a myriad of sources including market data and research, internal databases, predictive analytics, social media and customer feedback.

The issue here isn’t collecting data, but making sure that it can serve the entire organization. And the biggest threat to this effort is the tendency for companies to silo valuable data inside of the department from which it originated. While this approach can help keep things stay somewhat organized within that particular segment, it does nothing for cross-organizational collaboration — a central component of any successful digital transformation. New technologies equip organizations to capture and manage data. Your company’s data landscape has to change from feudal to communal, an environment where everyone is a stakeholder and data is fully accessible to whoever needs it.

Create a Data-Friendly Culture

Technology is the driver, but company culture is really what determines whether an enterprise transformation will flourish or fail. Employees, managers and C-level professionals must understand the importance of data, as well as how to utilize it in their everyday duties. Data can no longer be viewed as simply a byproduct of research. It needs to take a more prominent place in the organization as an asset, one that can add value to every process in the company — from reengineering the production line to revealing new ways to increase customer loyalty.

Changing the organizational attitude when it comes to data and technology will enable more informed decision-making throughout the business and increase the flexibility of the entire firm. This change does require a certain degree of digital know-how, and your company must be willing to invest in training and skill-building campaigns, as well as data-savvy new hires.

Expand the Customer Experience

One of the main reasons an organization decides to make a change is its customers. Today’s consumers have high expectations when it comes to the goods and services that they pay for. Customers have access to a wealth of information when they want to make a purchase, making them more knowledgeable than ever before. The lowest prices or most innovative products may not be enough in the emerging business climate. Consumers want to have exceptional, personalized experiences and harnessing the power of Big Data is the only thing that will allow you to deliver.

This can be accomplished in a number of interconnected ways. On the inside, for example, you can use data analytics to manage supply and inventory so that they are always sure of exactly what you have and when you’ll run out. That same data can be used on the customer side to provide accurate information about stock and delivery times. You can also use data you’ve collected over each customer’s journey to provide additional value even when they’re not interacting directly with you. An example of this is location-based mobile notifications that provide recommendations and offers when they’re in the vicinity of your company or a partner organization.

Companies must be prepared to make significant investments, not only of the monetary kind, but also in the business’ organization and ethos as well. Your firm has to think big, moving away from one-off remedies for disparate functions toward solutions that can be applied laterally across all business units. These kinds of investments allow every corner of the company to realize the benefits of a data-driven digital transformation.