Our Roundtable Sessions are invite-only events hosted by peers for peers that bring together a select group of senior IT leaders from across industries for topic-driven, intimate, dialog on current trends and topics. We hosted this Session featuring a group of CXOs and other IT executives. The group met remotely to discuss how to empower and enable the culture and organization through data visibility and visualization, led by the VP of IT Data & Analytics for a real estate investment trust. This Session was sponsored by Sisense.
Data is the most valuable resource in the world. Bar none. Using modern data visibility and visualization solutions, companies can solve critical problems and gain a formidable competitive advantage. But creating a data-driven infrastructure and culture can often be difficult. How do we aggregate and transform disparate data? How do we get people to forego their favorite-but-dated solutions and adopt new technologies that may have a learning curve? How do we govern data and ensure its accuracy and quality?
An executive said that the most significant challenges with enabling a data-driven architecture are overall data management and processing to find sources of truth. Another is getting the business to collaborate with data scientists to identify which data-driven insights to focus on. One speaker expressed concerns about data availability and quality. A director of corporate applications added that they couldn’t get people to take data clean up seriously. It should have happened many years ago, but they still find themselves explaining the benefits of clean data to people within their organization.
Another major challenge is data completeness and governance. Sometimes you just don’t know specific parameters. Other times, people can enter incorrect or conflicting data into the system. So, which data do you trust, and which do you discard?
A VP of data analytics mentioned that culture is the most important enabling factor in the journey to becoming data-driven. You can have the best infrastructure possible and provide access to clean and precise data, but it will all go in vain if your workforce isn’t ready to adopt new techniques and technologies. Some people may be receptive to change, but others will continue to do things they used to because it still gets them what they need. To tackle this, they took all the old data being used by people (which was primarily spreadsheets and Access databases) and put it in a data lake. This made it possible for other people to use it. Building a unified reservoir of data, which was accessible to all people within a business group, was a massive win for them.
An executive at a data solutions provider shared that it’s essential to take a people-first approach while building data-driven platforms. If you can use data to solve people’s problems, not only will they come on board, but they will also become your early adopters. For example, if a team needs certain historical data to build their strategic plans and a new analytics system can provide them that, they will be ready to use it as soon as it’s available.
Talking about data ownership, one attendee said they created a data stewardship team responsible for owning and managing data across their organization. Another said that they started asking people to provide feedback regarding who owns what. People shared what belonged to them and what didn’t. This allowed them to begin the conversation about ownership, and soon they could draw a clearer picture.
One executive shared a unique approach regarding data ownership. They suggested creating data owners and data stewards. Owners are the business people who understand the meta of the data. What is necessary, and what can be left blank? The stewards are the more technical people who need to ensure that all the required data is always available. This collaboration between business and technical teams can be vital in ensuring that data is properly collected, maintained, and processed.