4 ways CIOs can get comprehensive, long-lasting value from data

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Let’s face it; the time has long passed when data was the sole purview of IT. In today’s data-driven economy, those assets belong to everyone in the organization.

In other words, data management has become a team sport. So how can CIOs develop winning plays to ensure that their organizations derive long-lasting, comprehensive benefits from their data? Here are four ways.

Conduct an aspirational assessment

The first step to creating a team-centric approach to data management is an aspirational assessment.

Start by determining what key players on your executive team see as the organization’s strengths and weaknesses in data access and usage. For example, do they trust the data they are getting? Are service levels where they need to be? And, perhaps most importantly, do they understand that critical company successes can be supported or derailed by poor processes and poor data?

Don’t stop with the executive team; an assessment of functional teams is critically important too. Groups like sales, marketing, and customer success have massive amounts of data and deal with a lot of data-related requests. These departments often understand the value of data but struggle to prioritize it above everything else.

Finally, look outside the company and benchmark your organization against its peers to learn where you stand versus the industry and to learn from best practices.

Identify key players

CIOs that want organizational data to become a team asset need to be change agents. In fact, they’re often brought in to drive organizational data transformations. In order to drive this change, you should identify your champions –colleagues that understand and are vested in the new strategy, and that can help you demonstrate how data will drive organizational success.

Look for people who share your vision. It might be the CEO or another executive, but it could just as easily be a single department. Get folks excited and on board by discussing and demonstrating how data can be used for better business insights, decision making, and a competitive edge.

Once you establish there is a willingness to support change (in department or function level or at the executive level), then build strong alliances and consensus to drive a groundswell of support.

Don’t get locked in to vendors or technologies

Today’s technology landscape is shifting faster than ever, so you’ll need to work with vendors whose offerings are flexible and won’t tie your organization to a single cloud architecture or infrastructure.

Flexibility is essential; it gives you the latitude to take advantage of new technology innovations, and the platforms best suited to integrate, liberate and maximize your data. By opting for multi-cloud support, you can leverage all of your data and give employees the ability to access data whenever and wherever they need it.

Also keep in mind that the amount of data your organization is storing and processing will expand very quickly, so don’t buy capacity based on where you are today. It’s also best to have some level of predictability in cost—many vendors use subscription models that help you understand cost not just today, but three years from now.

Long-term and flexible governance

A team-oriented data governance plan should create a strong foundation for business intelligence by providing as much access as possible to the high-quality data needed for self-service initiatives while maintaining security and compliance with applicable data privacy regulations.

Your enterprise governance model also should consider ongoing infrastructure investments to ensure they all meet the architectural and security standards needed to support the company’s short- and long-term goals. Without such a model, organizations risk creating a sprawl environment that has a lot of unrealized value and functionality that doesn’t work very well.

These forward-looking steps let you be a facilitator instead of a gatekeeper.

Become data champions

Data in business has become everyone’s business, and if companies are to realize more value from it, they need to make data management a team sport. CIO’s can lead the charge by ensuring that the entire organization understands the role data plays in the company’s business goals, has access to the quality data they need and has a clear understanding of infrastructure, governance and investment guidelines.

CIOs that follow this playbook will be well-positioned for a winning season.

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