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Where’s The Money in Data? (Part II)

By
  • Anne Buff
Published
  • September 17 2015, 7:15pm EDT

In part one of this article series, we determined that in order to understand opportunities in data monetization there must first be a problem to solve, an action to drive or a decision to aide, and that the problem must be defined by focus and state, we can now review what is necessary to succeed in data monetization.

There are three areas of practice that businesses must consider to successfully monetize data – collection, packaging and delivery. These three key aspects of developing information-based solutions distinctly define the requirements and approach necessary for each of the four monetization opportunities.

Part Two: Business Optimization

If the focus of the problem to be solved is internal and the state is existing, then the defined monetization opportunity is business optimization. When using data for business optimization, the value generation and recognition is not defined by revenue dollars or asset assessments for accounting ledgers. The monetized value of data in business optimization is defined by reducing costs or improving productivity in business operations. While the value of business optimization can certainly be defined in monetary terms, the value can also be recognized in soft terms such as increased employee satisfaction, reduced time and effort, or increased accuracy and quality all of which have significant value for the overall business.

Generating value for business optimization represents a shift in the business using data as a business process output (reporting) to using data as a business process input (analytics). Data is no longer used to just provide answers to business questions, but rather the data is now used to define and refine the questions. This means that the traditional approaches to data collection, packaging and delivery for business processes fundamentally change.

When considering data collection for business optimization, this means that data silos will have to become a thing of the past as data collection not only refers to the acquisition of data but also the integration of data across the enterprise. How data is ingested and stored is definitely an important consideration, but data integration across the entire organization is the essential and fundamental requirement for data monetization through business optimization. Data integration does not require that all data must be centrally located either. Departmental data can remain autonomous in source systems and be integrated as needed through virtualization and cloud capabilities. Technology really isn’t the barrier to data collection in business optimization as much as it is the people and the processes. Make sure the people of your organization know the value in sharing data cross functionally. Once data can be effectively shared throughout the organization, the possibilities of business value generation through data multiply exponentially.

The packaging of data for business optimization is all about making information solutions consistent and easily digestible. For internal optimization efforts, this will require governance to ensure consistency. Remember, data monetization is about solving a problem. If the packaging of information is not consistent, your solution may provide the answer to one problem but create many others. Certainly not the definition of success. Data quality, data management, data governance and BI standards of excellence are all key areas of focus for effective “packaging” in business optimization.

The delivery of data products and services for business optimization is based on effective communication and seamless integration into business processes. In order to ensure data-based tools and solutions are used appropriately, they must be placed as close to the expected action or decision point as possible. Meaning, if a customer service representative (CSR) is expected to provide the next best offer to a customer to increase revenue, then the offer should be an obvious (and easy) part of the transaction the CSR is completing. If an executive is expected to use a specific dashboard for making critical business decisions, the same dashboard should be available through multiple delivery options (mobile, internal web, email driven, etc.) so that the executive is ensured access to the same information regardless of time, location or device. Methods of passive and active communication of information delivery provide different advantages for end consumers. Make sure you match the appropriate delivery method to the right need.

Solving existing, internal problems through data capabilities generates value through business optimization. Data sharing and integration across the entire organization with effective governance, easy accessibility are the keys to successful data monetization through business optimization.

Part I: Sept. 15
Part II: Above
Part III: Sept. 23
Part IV: Sept. 30
Part V: Oct. 7

Anne Buff is a thought leader on SAS's best practices team.

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