In Transform to Win, we explore the challenges facing modern companies, diving into their individual digital transformations and the people who drive them. Learn about the changes they’re making to not just remain competitive, but win in the future to stand the test of time.

One of the main goals of a digital transformation is to empower everyone within an organization to make smarter, data-driven decisions. The first step towards doing that is to bring all your organization’s data: all your disparate datasets, wherever they live (on-prem and in a variety of cloud sources, no doubt) into an enterprise BI tool. 

Whatever analytics platform you choose, it will become the lynchpin where all your data is joined together, where experts work with it, and where users turn to make decisions as they go about their daily tasks. Before we dig into what your enterprise data integration will do for your organization, let’s touch briefly on the challenges that collecting all of an enterprise’s data can entail.

BI and Analytics for Data Engineers

More data, more problems

Possibly one of the best things about working in a large company is that pretty much every department gets its own resources to tackle its own problems. The marketing team wants a database to store marketing data? The Sales team needs a Salesforce license and a place to store all their contacts? They have their own budget too. And that’s all to say nothing of the Creative team, Finance, Operations — the list goes on and on.

By the time your Chief Data Officer gets down to creating a plan for your enterprise data integration, they could be looking at a dozen or more different cloud data sources, plus on-prem holdouts. All this data needs to come together in one place in order for the organization to reap the benefits of an enterprise BI tool. Without all the information, you’re still not making smarter decisions, just different mistakes. Additionally, enterprise companies often deal with client data that comes in a variety of forms and from a wide array of locations as well.

“[When looking at a BI platform] the ability to handle structured and unstructured data was really important to us.” Eric Bernstein, President of Asset Management at Broadridge Asset Management Solutions explains. “We have no idea what a customer is going to put into our container… We also can’t always control where the data lives.”

It’s up the data team, working with the CDO’s plan, to create a data pipeline that gets all the information into the tool where it can be manipulated and actually start driving value for the organization.

Better data builds better businesses

It’s easy to get bogged down in the details and lose sight of the main reasons for rounding up all this data in the first place: making better decisions in daily tasks and opening the door for new revenue opportunities. Let’s handle the last one first, new revenue opportunities. We’ve discussed this elsewhere, but it always bears repeating, every company is becoming a data company

If you’re not offering your users insights, trends, and new discoveries from their data (mixed with whatever other datasets your company collects or has negotiated access to), you’re going to lose out to a company that does. Luckily, there are lots of opportunities to do this, so start thinking about how your company can become a data company as you begin your enterprise information integration.

The other powerful way your enterprise data integration will build a better business is by empowering users to make smarter decisions every day, in their workflows.

Actionable analytics increase adoption

Why the low adoption, then? First off is probably tools: even if a company shells out for an expensive enterprise BI tool, the chances of everyone across the organization knowing about it, how it can help them, and how to use it, are slim. The great strides of self-service analytics can only go so far. Analytics adoption has been stalled at about the 35% range for a number of years, even as enterprises state again and again that making their workforce more data-driven is a primary concern.

A sufficiently advanced BI platform with natural language querying and other AI enhancements will help even non-technical users query the data and get easy-to-understand answers to help them make smarter decisions.

“It’s all about what you do with the data you collect,” says Shaul Shalev, Safety and Analytics Manager at Air Canada. “We collect hundreds of gigs of data, but unless you have a clear method of slicing and dicing that data and presenting [those findings] to whoever the user is, it’s not really useful.”

The right analytics platform can help increase adoption via analytic apps. This is outside the scope of the main thrust of the enterprise information integration, but it’s something the CDO and the team gathering all the datasets together should keep in mind. Whatever platform you’re using to centralize working with your data, it should also be equipped to help your Product Team create actionable analytic apps that will enable your users to make smarter, data-driven decisions within their workflows. These same analytic apps can also create new revenue streams inside your customer-facing offering.

“With Sisense BloX, my team has the functionality they need to build ‘full circle’ data experiences,” explains Patrick Sherlock, Chief Product Officer, Luzern. “BloX unleashes additional analytics functionality that [streamlines] workflows and decision making.”

Choosing your data and analytics can seem daunting, but as long as you pick one that can handle data from a wide array of sources, is built to empower builders to create analytic apps, and gives BI teams an easy-to-use interface, you’ll be in good shape. Whatever path you go down with your enterprise data integration, remember: you’re building the future of your company, so build boldly.

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Jack Cieslak is a 10-year veteran of the tech world. He’s written for Amazon, CB Insights, and others, on topics ranging from ecommerce and VC investments to crazy product launches and top-secret startup projects.

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