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How building a data ecosystem adds value to your business

By David Sharp

As we become more comfortable with living our lives digitally, businesses have more opportunity to collect and leverage data. So how can you turn big data into big value for your business? We answer a few key questions below:

What’s the point of big data?

The point of big data isn’t necessarily that it’s big, but that it delivers insights that help you operate more efficiently, deliver better, more useful products and services, and offer an individualised experience for customers. In fact, using data more effectively lets your business seem smaller and more personal, regardless of its actual size. 

What is a data ecosystem?

Because there is no one single big data solution, you need to implement a range of technologies and methodologies to build a data architecture that is secure, fosters collaboration, and can easily scale as business demands grow. This is what’s known as the data ecosystem. 

What’s the role of a big data ecosystem?

The data ecosystem isn’t just an alternate way of storing data. Its role is to provide a single place where internal and external data can be organised, integrated, engineered, and modelled to:

· improve process efficiencies 

· provide insights to increase understanding

· lay the groundwork for transitioning data to information and, ultimately, to knowledge

· present outcomes that improve decision-making for both your business and your customers.

The data ecosystem includes infrastructure, analytics, and applications; all three are equally important to delivering value. 

Infrastructure: the technologies that form the ecosystem’s core and can store, process, and analyse data, including unstructured data.

Analytics: the technologies such as business intelligence and machine learning that let businesses derive insights from data.

Applications: the interfaces through which business users interact with data to gain insights that can drive decision-making.

What do you need to consider when establishing a big data ecosystem?

There are five key steps for your business to consider:

1. Strategic clarity

It’s essential to have a clear vision of what the data strategy aims to achieve. You need to define what success looks like, such as increasing customer value, increasing market penetration, or generating cost efficiencies. During this step, big data project owners should look to secure management buy-in. This will help ensure a strong data-driven culture pervades the organisation, giving projects legitimacy and value. 

2. Data acquisition

It’s important to identify and integrate all internal and external data needed for the project. Without a clear idea of what data is required to achieve your objectives, projects can be derailed by gathering and analysing irrelevant or useless information. 

3. Insights and knowledge

Once the data is gathered, data analysts can begin exploring and modelling the data to gain insights and knowledge. This can be an exciting stage because it’s a time of discovery. It starts with resolving known problems and, through this process, other possibilities often emerge, giving you opportunities to gain further knowledge and insights you didn’t even know you needed. 

4. Business process integration

Once you’ve extracted insights and knowledge from the data, you can use it to design more effective work practices, efficient information flow, actionable reporting, improved transparency, and increased relevance of communications. This is where the data starts to prove its value as it goes from being theoretical to practical. 

5. Management

Developing and implementing a data ecosystem isn’t a set-and-forget activity. It’s a journey. It requires ongoing commitment and a genuine desire to become data-driven. A valuable data ecosystem empowers businesses to take a proactive approach to data, process, and customer engagement issues. Moving forward, businesses must continue to work with the data ecosystem, updating and refreshing technologies, tools, and methodologies as appropriate, as well as reviewing key operation benchmarks and value expectations. 

How do we choose a data ecosystem?

When considering implementing a data-centric approach, you need to start with an overarching view of the data ecosystem. This will help you choose the right combination of technologies and methodologies so that the investment yields the anticipated returns.

Many businesses view big data as a magic bullet that will automatically help the organisation become more customer-focused and effective. This is only true if you implement the right strategy and solution for your business’s unique needs. Working with an expert partner like RoZetta to extract maximum value from big data solutions is crucial, especially if your business doesn’t have the necessary resources required to effectively manage a data strategy from end to end.

Find out how RoZetta can help you get the most out of your data here.

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