In every tool that you use internally, or that in some way touches your customer directly or indirectly, there is data that can be used to improve that customer experience, and the efficiency and effectiveness of your team. Meer makes a great point to this effect: “One of the key lessons from the history of marketing science is that when a new data source becomes available, everyone is quick to fall in love with it. But smart companies take a step back and strive for a more holistic view of their customers and markets. They enthusiastically mine the new data source without discounting other information that may provide critical missing pieces to the analysis.”
Sometimes the hardest question is where to begin. Well, here’s the advice:
- Identify the common denominators. Understand the data outputs of each of your systems — those that are machine-generated, and those that require manual effort — and identify the core metrics for each so that you know what it takes to manage each system independently. Unless you take the time to map out the requirements for each, it will be difficult to envision the common denominators between them. Personally, I am a huge fan of white boarding and the kanban method used in most agile or just-in-time (JIT) production systems to help identify and prioritize data and actions. However you approach this, begin with a shared understanding of what is needed and where there are overlaps.
- Centralize and normalize your data. Determine what data is shared between systems, and then how the data is calculated within each system so that a shared metric is properly weighted. One of the key activities within normalization is to test your model against real data, allowing you to make adjustments to these prioritizations, with teams and stakeholders in agreement on the model going forward.
- Experiment with how you present this data. The best planning and reporting efforts will fail if organizations cannot properly communicate their results. Make the effort to experiment with dashboards, reporting, and other visualization tools so that consumers of this data –whether they be executives or end users — receive the right data, in a timely manner, in a format that they can easily consume and take action on. As with every other aspect of your planning activities, this should be an organic process that constantly reviews feedback, makes adjustments, and pushes data back out to the users for additional feedback. The more feedback you can get up front, the less change will happen in the future.
- Synthesize, iterate, rinse and repeat. Allow people to quickly synthesize key data, show them the positive or negative trending of your metrics, and have a clear method for continuous feedback into the governance model and your processes. If people understand and trust that they are being heard, that their feedback is being considered and action being taken, they will invest more time in providing the valuable business insights you need to make your efforts successful.
Why Gaining and Sharing Insights?
he accelerated growth of data and content, most of it unstructured, has become a major business driver for the adoption of cloud infrastructure. Once analyzed, these assets derive value and can reveal intelligence that, when applied to business decisions, can make a significant difference in your bottom line. But with this growth comes an immense amount of data volume and variety that can go beyond the capacity of existing infrastructures, causing headaches for IT managers and their budgets.
Many have adopted cloud infrastructure as a way to mitigate the capacity and cost issues associated with the growth of unstructured data and content. Regardless of the cloud delivery model chosen or mix of models, if you eventually end up with both private and public clouds, it is critical that companies give high priority to choosing a cloud service provider that builds its infrastructure and services on platforms that can deliver on required service levels, and on technologies that can provide quick, dependable access to all data when and where it is needed is critical.
Yet, this need for secure and dependable access becomes even more critical when factoring in the needs of today’s “consumerized” workforce with the security and compliance demands of corporate IT. As the speed of doing business continues to accelerate, users are increasingly taking matters into their own hands by using their own devices and employing consumer file sharing applications without waiting on the permission of IT. To workers, the ability to access the information they need, in the format they need, when and where they need it – whether its housed internally or externally – can be the difference between success and failure.
Giving Control Back to IT
The answer to this problem is not the ruthless enforcement of strict policies, as users will just find another workaround to get the data they need in order to meet productivity. IT departments need to provide solutions that employees can leverage to receive access to data when they need in a simple, efficient manner, while also adhering to strict IT guidelines and policies.
With all of the choices available today, how does an organization know what is right for both its business and employees? Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when shopping for enterprise sync and share solutions:
• Security and Risk Management: Employees take on big risks when they hand data over to consumer cloud solutions, which do not deliver on the security and data protection requirements typically promised. When researching solutions for enterprise environments, place security as a top priority and deploy only those that offer enterprise level encryption. By doing this, IT can ensure they are addressing corporate data security and governance issues head on – eliminating the risk of exposing intellectual property and adhering to regulatory compliance standards.
• Storage and Network Utilization: Relying on email attachments, content management systems, copies on user devices, in backups, and on file servers all lead to inefficient storage and network utilization owing to massive content duplication and high cost for data management. With users generating and sharing more and more copies of data, storage and network inefficiencies are being exacerbated and data is being stored unsanctioned devices, applications and clouds, putting the data outside the control and governance of corporate IT. By deploying an on-premise file sync & share solution, you can reduce the operational costs associated with data management and simplify your infrastructure – allowing you to match the costs and capabilities of out-sourced solutions with superior controls and security.
• Enterprise DNA: When evaluating solutions to solve your sync and share dilemmas, look for those that are build from the ground up for the enterprise – not those that rely on public or consumer clouds for their storage environments. The best approach is to enable file synchronization and sharing from within IT, which allows users to access data and collaborate on any device, from any location at any time. The puts the power back in the hands of the business, and ensures that end-to-end file sharing solutions are deployed safely, securely, and with corporate oversight.
The bottom line? Consumer devices and technologies are here to stay. It’s critical that businesses look for file synchronization and sharing solutions that are designed end-to-end for the enterprise, as these solutions encourage creative and ongoing collaboration through secure access to content that is truly fluid.
By keeping these key elements in mind and understanding the needs of both the business and its employees upfront, IT can choose the right file sync and share solution that delivers best of both worlds functionality and ensures consumer demands for mobile services are met with enterprise-class reliability.