A data driven business refers to a company or organisation that makes data available to all staff to drive decision making in every aspect of business operations.
Companies that provide data to specific groups but not others, cannot be described as data driven, rather they are making use of data for insight but they are not driving their entire business using data. As an example, a company that has a marketing department using analytics to make decisions about market dynamics but does not use that data for other decisions and other departments is not data driven.
A data driven company makes data available to all staff and provides them appropriate tools to investigate and look for answers within that data. This is different from producing canned weekly reports to understand how a business is performing, data driven behaviour uses the data to answer varied and different questions that businesses throw up and cannot be predicted. It also uses data to change behaviour and business models.
To be data driven requires re-engineering for traditional bricks and mortar companies. They typically do not retain enough data or the right data to derive insight, and even if they do, it is rare that they have built the infrastructure to put that data in the hands of all staff.
A Data Driven Business will do the following:
Collect all internal data and relevant external data and blend it together.
Build the IT infrastructure to store that data and make it available across a whole organisation. (traditional companies keep data in siloes)
Have the Big Data technology and skills to manage big data on behalf of the whole organisation. Being able to investigate enormous data sets on behalf of line of business and then provide it back to business managers in manageable formats that they can work with.
Provide the tools for line of business managers to drill more deeply into data sets sourced for them by the big data experts.
Companies like NetApp are focussing on enabling their customer to become data driven, creating storage platforms that enable data sharing and collaborating with companies that provide the tools to do the analysis that delivers insight.
Finally, data driven businesses must be committed to the data they use, reviewing it before during and after data driven decisions are made.
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