How Do You Create a Smart Data Strategy?
With the rate at which data volumes are scaling, it’s more important than ever to curate it effectively and turn it into useful information. Big data is dead. Smart data is taking the reins – in everything from analytics to artificial intelligence – as firms demand more from their information.
Most organizations are on the hunt to improve data quality and accuracy while minimizing the time it takes to cleanse, organize, and prepare the data for analytics and other downstream uses. So, if a firm’s goal is to create analysis-ready data, it’s all about making data smart.
Cleansed, verified, and already converted into usable information, smart data is structured digital information that users can begin using immediately or send to downstream platforms for further consolidation and analytics.
Traditionally, companies receive big data in three forms: structured, unstructured, and semi-structured. It’s widely estimated that 80% to 90% of the world’s data is unstructured. All indications point to this stream of data continuing to increase dramatically. IDC’s 2023 data growth estimates forecast that the world will generate a staggering 291 zettabytes of digital data in 2027. With this level of growth in data volumes, strategies to manage it need to evolve.
For years, companies have been looking to leverage big data to stay ahead of their competitors. However, it’s difficult to ensure big data aligns with business priorities and pain points without an effective data management strategy. Smart data offers more targeted information – empowering firms to use data in practical and valuable ways.
Transform Your Data Overload
Several considerations are important as firms build on their smart data strategy:
- Build a Robust Infrastructure
To fuel continuous growth, it’s essential to modernize, re-platform, and harmonize systems. This is even more crucial for firms preparing to expand assets, launch new businesses, or embark on fundraising efforts. By implementing a centralized data platform, companies can unlock unique insights and pave the way for their success.
- Consider the Data Source
Effective data sourcing is critical to a successful data initiative. With the right tools to capture internal and external data, the right data partner, and effective data integration, firms can set the stage to create meaningful insights from their data.
- Create a Framework to Uncover Valuable Insights
Successful analytics programs include a focus dynamically adding new data and removing degraded data; embedding guess-and-check principles and a strong peer review framework; and allowing time for research and development. Firms can preserve an edge in generating insights by designing an analytics program that allows for continuous evolution.
- Embrace New Tools
Leading-edge technologies, such as AI, blockchain, and cloud-native technologies, have the opportunity to vastly disrupt traditional ways of doing business. Technology that enables institutions to extract real-time data for in-the-moment analysis allows a business to swiftly respond to changing market dynamics. By continuously monitoring and analyzing data streams, companies can detect trends, identify emerging opportunities, and mitigate risks more effectively.
Smart Data + Smart Tools for the Win
If big data focuses on volume, smart data is all about quality and speed that enable companies to extract valuable insights in real time, inform decision-making, and drive business growth. The purpose-built technologies used to ingest, validate, harmonize, and distribute data enables firms to confidently monitor data streams, detect trends, and identify emerging opportunities as they happen.
 Tapping the Power of Unstructured Data, MIT Management Sloan School
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