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Seven ways data can increase efficiency & save your company time

(Image credit: Image Credit: Pitney Bowes Software)

It isn’t new knowledge that efficiency is key to business success, but in a 21st century data-driven culture, data discovery is a resource that can save your company a significant amount of time and resource, freeing up space for you to innovate. By having access to a consolidated and accurate view of our organisation in real-time, you will be able to proactively explore your data to find the answers you need when you need them the most, helping you to make better decisions. If you want your business to remain competitive and stay one step ahead, you can’t afford to not invest in data discovery. Here are seven reasons why:

1. Use your employees’ time wisely

Employee time is precious, and many people find their working day often consumed by manual data processing and reporting-tasks which are both time heavy and laborious. This must explain why only 17 per cent of the finance team’s time is dedicated to strategic activities according to last year’s CFO Indicator report. Data discovery tools however, can remove manual data processing, helping users to dramatically reduce the time taken on inputting data manually. Another challenge organisations often face is the internal pressure to find specific pieces of data quickly. As organisations grow, so does their infrastructure, often resulting in fragmented and siloed systems which make finding the location of data almost impossible. Data discovery tools provide users with a single, searchable view of their entire data estate, enabling users to search across all of their data at once. This reduces the time taken to locate and report on data to a matter of seconds, freeing up your staff to carry out other tasks such as analysing the data to help you make better, strategic decisions.

2. Improved data quality means better decisions

The problems caused by inaccurate data is something experienced by all organisations. Perhaps you don’t have a standardised approach to data entry, or human error impacts your organisation - either way, data discovery tools can help. The ability to standardise data entry and carry out data cleansing can help create efficiencies. As data is entered into the system, it is run through a data cleansing algorithm, helping to identify errors and anomalies. In real time, data discovery tools are able to highlight issues such as a misspelt name, incorrect dates, incomplete account numbers, etc. and flag them for action before they are entered into the main system. This data cleansing means that when reports are created, they are as accurate as possible, meaning no frustrating surprises further down the line.

3. Self-service to help you drive your business forward

When it comes to creating a data-driven culture, accessibility is key to making good use of your data. Users are able to self-service their data requirements, reducing their reliance on the IT departments who are often tasked with creating reports and compiling data extracts. If you’ve ever had to request a report from the IT department, you’ll know how waiting for it to come back can affect efficiency. Allowing individual users to not only gain insights into their organisation, but to also explore and investigate them as well, helps to speed up the time for necessary actions to be taken. Empowering employees with data insights helps them to not only make better decisions but to also drive the business forward.

4. Get your priorities straight

To help drive efficiency, users need to know where they should prioritise their time and focus their activities. With data discovery solutions, users are able to quickly and easily identify priorities within their data helping them to target specific areas of activity. Turn repetitive and mundane tasks into automatic alerts, helping users to save valuable time. For example, an alert could be placed on a database to identify when it is reaching capacity and action is required. Users no longer need to login and check the capacity as they will be prompted when action is required, so focus can now be applied to other business critical activities.

5. Keep on track through KPIs

KPIs are a great way to track performance from throughout your organisation both at a high level and departmental basis. Data discovery solutions are able to track and monitor customised KPIs, helping organisations to stay on target and monitor their performance in real time. This provides the continuous insight required to change direction or improve processes as and when required.

Users are able to track everything from efficiency and innovation levels, regulatory compliance, risk management, customer service, people development and view KPIs in dynamic dashboards allowing a real-time reminder ensuring your organisation is updated on its current position.

6. Stay two steps ahead and predict the future

Data discovery solutions allow companies to test models and scenarios out before using them in the real world. Sophisticated data modelling capability is based on a joined-up view of the data you hold within your organisation. Models created within the data discovery solution highlight relationships between different entities within the data, such as the relationship between your customers and products. This enables you to test different ‘what if’ scenarios to better understand what the impact of making different decisions is likely to have on the relationships between those entities.

For example, let’s say you want to test the likely take-up rate by customers in the 30-40-year-old age group of a new online banking app, or how many new customers the business is likely to add if it increased the interest rate of savings products by 0.1 per cent, and how many is it likely to lose if it reduced the rate by 0.1 per cent – all of this is possible with data discovery tools.

The insight allows you to drive your business decision-making process with the help of validated evidence rather than ‘gut-instinct’. The time saved can be reallocated to analysing the forecasts, enabling better and more profitable future decisions to be carried out.

7. Reduced set up time

When it comes to unlocking insight, the ability to reduce set up time is key to accessing insight quickly. This is where data discovery solutions are the perfect fit! Quicker to implement than traditional systems, users are able to start benefiting from new insights straight away. Allowing you to react to changes in the market faster than competitors, as data discovery capability makes organisations 5x more likely to make faster-than-average decisions. Quick implementation time, combined with minimal training due to self-service ease, helps to drive efficiency.

Not only are data discovery tools easy to use but they provide the agility and scalability to ensure that as an organisation grows their data needs are met helping to establish a culture of data driven decision making through combining statistical analysis with human intuition and intelligence.

For organisations looking increase efficiency and save time, data discovery holds the key to unlocking your answers.

Kevin Strachan, Operations Director, Connexica
Image Credit: Pitney Bowes Software

Kevin Strachan is Operations Director at Connexica, a leading data discovery and analytic solutions provider focused on helping organisations to gain a single version of the truth for better business decisions.