In the 21st century, data is an increasingly coveted resource. Businesses around the globe are in the process of re-orientating to a data and analytics driven approach.
Recent research shows that 82% of CEOs are taking steps to transition toward digital operations (a 20% increase from two years ago) and 77% are planning to increase their investments in digital capabilities.Tie Your Data and Analytics Initiatives to Stakeholders and Their Business Goals. Gartner, 2020
The ready availability of powerful data collection and analysis tools means that businesses of all sizes can now access valuable, information-driven insights once reserved for the biggest and most well-resourced corporations. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are using these advancements to drastically improve or even transform the way they do business.
Tools and technology are only part of the picture – digital natives already view data and analytics as both an asset and intrinsically linked to overall business strategy. However, too many organisations still take an inconsistent, half-hearted or ad hoc approach and, in doing so, fail to maximise their possible benefits.
Truly harnessing the potential of data and analytics requires a fresh perspective on its importance as a resource, a fundamental re-evaluation of its role in executive-level decision making, and a clear strategy.
We’ve created our data and analytics maturity framework to provide SMBs with insights on the core competencies needed for successful digital business.
Our framework is separated into six categories:
- Culture and Skills
This guide looks at the role platforms play in supporting your data and analytics strategy. We break this topic down into four essential subcategories:
Platforms enable your vision. They facilitate the reception, processing and presenting of data for analysis. However, it’s not just what your platforms can do, it also matters how they do it. Efficiency, security, robustness and data government capabilities are all important factors in delivering the right platform solution for your data and analytics objectives.
No matter the focus, size, or scope of your data and analytics strategy, accessing the right toolset at the right time is pivotal to success.
So, let’s examine the different aspects of data and analytics platforms in detail.
1. Storage and Management
The ability to efficiently, and securely, house your data assets is a cornerstone of any effective data and analytics operation.
It covers the ability to store your data in the manner required for your analytics objectives, and to provide access for your teams whilst adhering to the security and governance policies of your organisation.
SMBs taking steps to progress their data storage and management maturity should start by taking a careful look at the specific needs and goals of their business. While it’s never been easier for SMBs to access the powerful solutions traditionally reserved for large enterprises, most organisations do not need the whole set of services.
What types of data are you working with? How will it be used and to what ultimate purpose? You might be looking at something as straight-forward as file storage and databases, or perhaps you’ll be handling more advanced forms of data such as streaming logs, or audio and video files. Each scenario demands different technologies and approaches to storage and management.
It’s important to concentrate on the areas that provide value, and a thorough examination of your data and analytics strategy is prudent before rushing to make any large investments.
Issues of data security and governance raise further questions. Data is both a valuable resource and, potentially, highly sensitive. Inconsistent or underdeveloped security and governance practices can all too easily turn assets into liabilities. Investments in data storage must also be paired with robust security and governance polices to manage any potential risks.