Organizations around the world are flooded with data that sometimes can be hard to centralize. The rate of information seems to be growing at astounding speeds as companies struggle to transform that data into useful business knowledge. In a survey published by McKinsey Global Institute, 500 executives were asked about their companies’ ability to successfully manage and take advantage of collected data. Of those 500, 85 percent reported that they were only somewhat effective at meeting data goals and supporting successful analytics initiatives.

Part of the challenge of dealing with data stems from the fact that as organizations evolve, their sources of data can multiply. Multiple data sources can result in a host of complications and inefficiencies, ranging from inaccurate or duplicated data to incorrect filing of compliance information. Centralizing data sources across your entity can assure that each division of your organization has access to a common source of trusted data, allowing for increased productivity, optimized collaboration and more confident decision-making.  Below we have described some of the further benefits centralized data can offer your organization.

Eliminate Data Silos

As a general rule of thumb, the more data your organization can share, the better able it is to make plans and to move forward with its goals. The creation of data silos runs counter to this notion, however, as data silos hamper the free flow of information across the company.  Data silos are repositories of fixed data that remain within a single department’s control and are isolated from the rest of the organization. These silos tend to occur as each department within an organization has differing priorities, responsibilities and benchmarks. The existence of data silos can often lead to problems for organizations because they lead to a proliferation of differing data points. As various departments try to work together, it becomes unclear which data is more accurate and up-to-date. Ultimately, siloed information caches lead to a sense of company fragmentation, as the different divisions within the organization are forced to operate without a clear vision of the big picture.

Centralizing entity data eliminates data silos by integrating all information into a single, shareable source. This minimizes the time spent reconciling competing data sets and reduces the inefficiencies caused by inaccurate or incomplete data. Centralized entity data increases the opportunities for collaboration and shared problem-solving across the organization because each division is equipped with a shared foundation of baseline knowledge.

Ensure Clean Data

Bad data costs companies time, money and, potentially, reputation. A recent Gartner survey revealed that problems associated with bad data resulted in costs, on average, of $14 million a year. A separate survey conducted by the LeadJen group estimated that bad data could cost companies as much as $20,000 per sales rep per year. Bad data often accumulates in business environments as multiple users interact with a variety of different data sources. This inevitably leads to inaccuracies and redundancies. The end results of these problems may manifest as incorrect customer contact information, inefficient billing and processing operations, or miscalculated manufacturing demands.

Creating a single, centralized source of data across your organization can help protect you from the negative impacts of bad data. A centralized data source is easier to maintain and keep clean, providing you with data that is verified and accurate. The process of cleaning data removes outdated entries and eliminates duplicate copies of files, categorizing information into usefully organized indexes. Data cleansing can redefine business processes and reveal opportunities for further integration. Most importantly, you can rest assured that the data you use for your day-to-day decisions is information you can trust.

Improve Data Governance

As the flow of business-related data has multiplied, organizations have had to rely more and more on robust data governance strategies. Data governance programs exist to orchestrate the creation, evaluation and use of data within a company, striving to maintain secure data interactions on all levels of the organization. Tighter regulations concerning the secure use of private or personal data have placed further emphasis on the role of data governance, and, increasingly, companies are relying on data governance policies to help them to satisfy compliance demands.

When organizations rely on decentralized data sources, the complications related to securing and integrating company data expand exponentially. By streamlining their data into a centralized data source, organizations can improve their data governance capabilities. A centralized source of data enables technicians to monitor and control data access points more easily, clarifying the process of data custody and minimizing the risks involved in mishandling sensitive information.

Optimize Analytics

Companies have come to understand that data is a business asset. With the proper investment of time and attention, data can generate revenue and provide the opportunity for growth. This is most evident in the realm of business analytics, where the understanding and manipulation of business data is critical to actionable insights.  But, as we have seen in other aspects of data management, the success of a data analytics initiative is tied directly to the quality of the data available.

Moving to a centralized data source assures that all business decisions are made from the same set of trusted data points. With verified and accurate data in hand, you can more easily identify and take advantage of industry trends and changes, launch new products and services, and predict future demands. This enables your sales team to better target the most desirable markets, capitalize on cross-selling or up-selling opportunities, and improve their customer relationships. Ultimately, the enhanced analytics offered by a streamlined data source increase the agility of your company, allowing it to be more predictive and proactive, and to maintain its competitive advantage.

Conclusion

Is your organization capitalizing on the data it captures every day?  Centralizing data across your organization may help you meet those challenges and position you to meet the demands of the future.