Is your company’s data analytics strategy aligned with your digital transformation? Here’s how to get everything on the right track.

Digital transformation is the application of technology in all aspects of human society. When you view the emerging era of the “Internet of Everything” (IoE), where connectivity and technology meet every area of our work and lives, it’s a greater reality than we could have ever envisioned. Add to this the ability to access and analyze data at every touch point, and what lies ahead is an exciting future that can help improve our world in remarkable ways.

Digital transformation also helps companies best prepare for changes and remain competitive, as well as adjust their business to improve performance and profits. It also has the power to transform legacy businesses in several new ways.

Data plays a key, compelling role in the transformation process and environment, providing important, real-time cues and information that can reduce guesswork and enable more succinct, targeted decisions. It is a cornerstone of digital transformation.

What Data, and How?

As companies navigate their own digital transformation efforts, many ask themselves where the data might come from; what to do with it; and where to store this valuable information. However, most companies do not have the architecture in place to support the amount, speed, and uniformity of the information they can collect.

From here, it is important to have a strategy for accessing, analyzing, and utilizing the data—what type of information do you feel you need? When will you obtain this information in the transformation lifecycle? What analytics efforts make the most sense? Governance of this data becomes necessary in order to have a fluid operational capacity, as well as the ability to run advanced predictive analytics to help foresee any nuances or issues before making decisions.

Determining your strategy in advance of your digital transformation process—and including it as an ongoing critical piece—is the best approach.

Identify a Goal

With the approach to your data established, it is important to identify a goal. It’s also vital at this stage to keep in mind how unique your business is to others that are using data to inform their digital transformation.

Identify a big challenge your company faces and take small steps and initiatives from there. Make sure the goal for your business is concrete, measurable, and includes benchmarking. For example, your goal might be to reduce costs, or streamline processes. Keeping the goal targeted and simple can help hone in on specific data you’ll need to see, which will make the analytics and reports efficient. You can always use your data in other ways, or change and add new goals later on.

Ensure Synergy Across the Business

With digital transformation, and data in general, most organizations will have multiple teams and departments involved. It is important to make sure that all of the business is in alignment and operating towards the goal you’ve defined. Prepare your team in advance by making it clear that the project will require the business to operate without silos. In order for true transformation to take place, every department must be treated as relevant and important to the overall goal.

This effort should be driven by the Chief Digital Officer (CDO), who will ensure the goals are met via transparency, clear communication, and well-defined steps and processes. In terms of data, the role of the CDO is to serve as the catalyst for digital transformation across all of business departments and will work with respective team members across the business environment. This initiative includes everyone, including the Chief Data Officer.

Find the Right Datasets

There are multiple areas where your data can be found, such as: CRM, ERP, social media management systems, Google analytics (web analytics) and other places. These all provide specific information that can be leveraged and structured for reports. Identify where and what datasets matter to your goal, and what timeframe and other means are needed to obtain them. Remember, you do not have to obtain all of your data—just the right data. Establishing the right datasets in advance will save time, keep the project focused, and the data you pull will be relevant and targeted.

Leverage Data Visualization

Collectively, it should be determined what data visualization format is most ideal for your needs. Data visualization is the ability to see the data in a variety of formats—it can be charts, graphs, or other means. The use of infographics are often a part of this, though typically for general communications among executives or teams and less than a deep dive. Ask yourself what means of reviewing the data you collect would be ideal and create steps and timelines for including this in the effort.

Conducting these steps can identify and prove the value that data can bring to your company, and enable you to scale operations to be data-driven in all possible aspects moving forward. If your company is still having a hard time understanding how data can be used to drive digital transformation, or how to best approach its use in your organization, a consultant or agency can help your business leverage this important information.