Companies can optimize data by solving for fragmentation and complexity.
According to market research company IDC, nearly all companies are on a digital transformation journey. Digital technology and data are "engines of innovation and revenue growth, offering organizations unprecedented opportunities to develop new products and services, and even reimagine their businesses," Linda Hill and co-authors write in a Harvard Business School Working Knowledge article.
However, data fragmentation and complexity divert leadership from innovation and increase risk, according to the second annual IDC Global Survey of the Office of the Chief Data Officer. Two-thirds of companies use multiple clouds to store their data, which leads to difficulty controlling data.
The survey results—which were published in the Driving Business Value from Data in the Face of Fragmentation and Complexity IDC InfoBrief—show that lack of automation stymies the scaling of data management. Four out of 10 companies have yet to automate any process, which may include such things as data cataloging and metadata, data integration, data sharing, and data governance and privacy.
Data fragmentation and complexity are troubling because they waste time. According to the survey results, data leaders spend more than one-third of their time on day-to-day management activities and another 11 percent discussing data's importance.
Additionally, while companies are responsible for the data they collect and use, nearly two-thirds struggle to guarantee the data's security. More than half face difficulties with data and analytics compliance, according to the brief.
Organizations that are able to leverage their data are more likely to garner digital success, the IDC InfoBrief says. They see improved business metrics in such areas as operational efficiencies, adherence to regulatory compliance requirements, and customer and employee retention.
Companies should aspire to solve fragmentation and complexity in three areas: data, technology, and people. To solve data fragmentation, the report recommends that companies first acknowledge the problem and understand that major improvements are necessary to integrate analytics into business decision making.
With regard to technology, it advises organizations to have standardized data management functions, which will reduce operations and management overhead. And on the people side, employers will realize higher business value through resilience and by adopting to changes. "More than three times as many of the optimized data organizations were sufficiently or completely prepared to adopt new ways of working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic," the IDC InfoBrief notes.