Data Management in the Digital Economy

by Aakash Atre and Tina Rosario

What are the impacts of data management in the digital economy?

Companies today face new challenges to thrive in the digital economy:  new customer behaviors, new regulations and new business models to name a few. These challenges have put managing business data into the spotlight. How can companies manage the sheer volume of data and the speed and ways that it can be created?  Not only does the convergence of digital technologies exponentially increase data volume, more significantly it creates an entirely new level of complexity required to deliver strategic advantages.

Technologies such as cloud, mobile and social media have undoubtedly made data more accessible and timely from a user standpoint.  And this poses a new challenge with the variety of data coming from multiple sources and the speed at which it flows. Business must adapt accordingly.

Whilst advances in technology can enable businesses to derive insights from data, technology on its own cannot be the only factor on which success is predicated.  Businesses should in conjunction also seek to adopt a more holistic view that recognizes the necessity of integrating data into every facet of the organisation with data governance and stewardship programs.

For many incumbant organizations, adapting to the digital economy can be daunting as it requires a shift in thinking but delay in such adoption is no longer an option.  “In the digital economy companies that are capable of delivering the most current and accurate data in the most easily consumable way possible are the ones that will survive and thrive,” said Philip On, Vice President Enterprise Information Solutions, SAP.

The future of data management

In the past, liner waterfall approaches to enterprise data management, where data was governed as it entered the corporate data landscape at different stages, were adequate even with disparate legacy systems of yesterday.  Times are different.  With today’s evolving technologies enabling seamless interoperabiliy between hardware and software, data is much more distributed and available real-time. As such, the importance of investment in a business and technical framework that can support data management capabilities should be recognized by businesses as a factor for success.

Considering the technical savviness of today’s digital user, it is possible and necessary to extend data governance all the way to the source at which data is entered – the user.  The user has the power to create and manipulate data in various ways at various stages in the process and with various levels of data quality.  In the digital economy companies now interact with user data in a faster and perhaps more complex way.

Considerations for change management

For many businesses, becoming digital means the first port of call for investment is often technology. Change mangement however should not be  restricted to that perspective alone but must be persisted throughout the organization with a holistic framework that encompasses the end to end journey of data.

Organizations should invest in building key capabilities in business processes, governance, operations and technical solutions that enable easier interactions, prevent errors, and business driven solutions.  These are not just IT capabilities but require business strategy and process management.

In an economy where data is regarded as an asset, businesses are not only having to rethink what management capabilities are needed to meet the changing needs of stakeholders but are also having to deal with the challenge of planning the investment needs across the organization to facilitate change in an increasing complex environment.

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