As one publication succinctly puts it:
“The digital economy is becoming ordinary.”
This is the reality of today’s global economy. It is, to all intents and purposes, a digital economy. How companies operate, how transactions are made, and even how we interact with each other - is now largely done through technology. And if you don’t have a data-driven business to adapt to the present era, then you will be left behind.
It may be a blunt introduction, but it is a reality that is backed with raw statistics. One Deloitte survey found that highly digital mature companies are 43% more profitable than their average industry peers. Data mastery is one of the key pillars of digitally mature businesses, with the Deloitte survey finding it to be the number one factor driving digital maturity.
What is Data Mastery?
In essence, data mastery means a business is gaining all the value it can from its data. At Universal Adapter, our definition is as followed:
“Data mastery is when a company or organization maximizes the control and use of its data, which leads to teams being able to reliably make informed decisions and implement them with efficiency.”
The results of data mastery can be seen in the automation of business processes such as accounting, HR, shipping, etc. Invoice processing times, for instance, can be cut by 50% by taking complete control of data and embracing digital technology to automate key processes.
There are several elements a company needs to bring together to achieve complete data mastery:
- Data management: This in itself is a broad topic, and it’s not to be confused with data mastery. Data management is about organizing and managing the data so that it can be used to support your business. A successful management strategy ensures data is accurate and easy to locate.
- Integration: Having an accurate set of data is of limited use if you do not have integrated processes and technologies. The last decade has seen the cloud move from the “new kid on the block” to a mainstay of businesses largely due to its integration capabilities. Having an advanced integrated network relies on data and helps your business master it by removing duplicates and other errors.
- Digital transformation: We’ve talked about digital transformation many times on our blog. It is more than just using the latest technology and streamlining data management - it’s also about adopting a “digital-first” mindset. The company’s culture should be embracing the digital revolution and buying into the value of data mastery.
By bringing those elements together to achieve one objective in mind - to completely master control of your data - your business will be well-placed to tackle the digital economy.
Why Data Mastery is so Critical
It is difficult to measure the size of the digital economy accurately - there are many factors at play, and definitions can vary. However, according to a United Nations report published in 2019, the global value of the digital economy was estimated at $11.5 trillion - or 15.5% of the world GDP. In some countries, like the United States and China, these figures rose to 21.6% and 30%, respectively.
Given that these figures account for 2017, today’s digital economy is likely to be even bigger.
What makes this so relevant to data mastery? For the simple reason that accurate and high-quality data fuel this growth. And not only does data drive today’s economy, but it also produces more data than ever before.
While it is undoubtedly critical to retain complete control of your data input which keeps your processes running smoothly, it is equally important to have a grip on your data output.
The data that your systems and processes throw out will contain a lot of invaluable information, such as:
- Customer trends: If you have an e-commerce store, customer trends can provide invaluable insight into what products are selling and which ones you can ditch. Keeping this data and building a record over time will deliver a more accurate picture of trends and enable you to target your marketing and purchasing strategy,
- KPI performance: By selecting a number of crucial KPIs for your business, you will be able to measure performance against those KPIs - in real-time. In doing so, you will be able to identify issues quickly and implement changes promptly.
- Time-to-delivery: This can involve anything from shipping a product to the delivery of a project. There will be several types of data containing the information you would need to measure time-to-delivery. By collecting all the relevant data, you would be able to clear out any bottlenecks or obstacles that could be slowing your team down.
- Web traffic: Using tools like Google Analytics, you can extract a vast amount of data from web traffic, including; customer journey, conversion rates, most visited page, and so on. The digital footprint web visitors leave is a treasure trove of information - if you handle it the right way.
The four mentioned above are just scratching the surface of what your business can glean from the data it generates. And most companies are falling short, with some experts claiming that marketers face “info obesity” - a term which describes a phenomenon of a company taking too much data that it simply cannot function.
How to Achieve Digital Mastery
Here’s the bad news: There’s no magic bullet. There is no singular tool or strategy that you can use you magically achieve the holy grail of data mastery. However, it is possible to hit that goal and to future-proof your business for the digital era.
The first step is a cultural one, to put data management at the heart of your business. By devising a strategy and communicating with your teams, your company will be better placed to take a leap ahead of your competitors. The trick is to focus efforts on the key metrics that drive your business and develop a data strategy that can clearly bring benefit.
For instance, if you are an automotive manufacturer, then a key area of your focus would be on the time it takes to assemble a car. For an e-commerce business, the focus would be more on sales. In whichever way you do it, it’s essential to keep your company’s objectives in mind.
The second step is to get the tools you need to help manage all the data. While data management software is essential in terms of laying the foundation for data mastery, it is other tools that take the data to the next level.
Universal Adapter’s advanced API and EDI integration software help take the data from these management tools and put them to work. If you put it in more everyday terms, you put your money in a bank to be stored in a clean and organized silo - that’s data management.
If you want your money to earn more interest or grow, then you would put it into investment products, like mutual funds, stocks, and so on - that is what API and EDI integration software does for data.
By combining the tools available to achieve data mastery your business will be well placed to thrive in the digital era.