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Why Data is the Secret to Building a Credible Reputation.

Business decisions are best made when grounded in available data. Data-driven decisions drive more successful outcomes, improve the business’ credibility…

Why Data is the Secret to Building a Credible Reputation

4th March 2024

Business reputation

By Gero Renker, director at Program Framework

Business decisions are best made when grounded in available data. Data-driven decisions drive more successful outcomes, improve the business’ credibility and generate trust among customers, employees and investors. Many businesses are now catching on, with 76 per cent of CEOs reporting their intentions to invest in data, AI and cloud infrastructure this year. Data is a significant driver for building and protecting reputation so it increasingly important for businesses to become ‘data mature’. To achieve this, businesses will need to establish the three pillars of data maturity; acquiring, assuring and delivering value from data.

Data can bring value to every facet of a business’ reputation. For instance, businesses that leverage data to understand customer needs, preferences and behaviours can deliver more tailored products and services that make customers feel understood and encourage their trust in the brand. Data also allows businesses to measure their performance objectively. Doing this regularly enables continuous improvement and supports the business’ credibility by signalling its commitment to excellence.

Equally, data-driven risk management enables businesses to anticipate and proactively manage potential challenges whilst insight into employee wellbeing and development can be leveraged to guide people investment and help businesses to become more reputable employers.

The first step to data maturity is to change how data is harvested. Data acquisition is about exploiting diverse channels to collect data. Historically, digital information has been acquired through manual data entry but technological advancements in cloud software and artificial intelligence (AI) have increased these channels, enhancing data quantity and quality as a result. Businesses can now receive data via web portals instead of email, avoid double-entry through online collaboration and utilise cloud-based, low-code platforms to create tailored apps that capture data more efficiently. Cloud technologies and AI offer untapped potential for connectivity, collaboration and scalable data stores. Many businesses have yet to fully exploit these opportunities for enhanced data maturity.

The next step to becoming data mature is driving data assurance. This covers the physical protection of data via cyber security controls, encryption, disaster recovery strategies and so forth. Equally important is assuring data accuracy, consistency and completeness through a wide variety of potential measures, such as data quality profiling, meta data management, approval workflows and audit trails. In support of this, data timestamps can help to pick up data records that require refreshing and strong governance will ensure non-compliance to data assurance measures is identified.

To fulfil the data maturity journey, businesses will need to turn their data into valuable insights. Modern business intelligence and analytical tools are a crucial foundation for the consumption and exploration of data. At a basic level, businesses will use these tools to understand the current status of their operations. At a more advanced level, historical data is used to reveal trends that show whether the business is moving in the right direction to deliver its strategy. Greater analytical capability enables previously siloed data to be shared across the business and create new connections, with the potential for accessing new insights.

Introducing AI-powered analytical capabilities will also help to provide instant access to more meaningful insights, including the use of predictive analysis to calculate likely outcomes. AI is a new frontier for businesses that will forever shift how they operate. Ensuring that senior leaders are ahead of this curve, both in their own understanding of it and its implementation, will help to pave the way for greater data maturity and a stronger business reputation. Appointing a chief AI officer (CAIO) can support this endeavour; it is their responsibility to oversee and guide the introduction and implementation of AI and ensure that it is used strategically within the business.  

Allowing data to guide decision making has become essential to a business’ reputational success and growth. Currently, many businesses are being held back by inherited technology and a legacy culture. By embracing technological change, empowering all employees to take a ‘data first’ mindset and continuously innovating across the three pillars of data maturity, senior leaders will be enabled to steer their business towards its strategic potential. 

Categories: Advice, Articles, Tech

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