Data strategy investment vs perceived cost – can they meet in the middle?


As data continues to surge into organisations from all different corners within this digitally transforming world, business decision makers no doubt feel compelled to invest in their data strategies and the technology that supports these, for long-term gain – and rightly so. Enterprise Information Management (EIM) has thus become a critical focus for many business leaders, as a lack of investment in information in this regard will likely result in a business being left behind in this rapidly evolving world.

While there is massive merit in strategically focusing on data, technology adoption and information management strategies in business, there is also the perception that such investment can be very costly. In my years of experience within the data field, I have seen far too many cases where business leaders have been down the road of high cost investment but with very little or no clear return. Knowing what I do about the value in data and EIM strategies, I have to ask myself, what is the reason for this?

A recent industry article I came across, linked to such focus and investments, points to some areas businesses tend to spend on that may be unnecessary and are costing the business valuable funds – leaving a skewed perception on the cost of managing information strategically.

It is spending that can be alleviated by focusing on a business approach to data and information management, to ensure that budget is not stretched or wasted, while still getting the most from investments to present a clear ROI. Many of the points raised here resonated with me, and as such I simply could not pass on the opportunity to share my views on some of the most relevant to the data space.

Surplus and duplicated data

With data dubbed the ‘new oil’, there are very valid reasons behind many businesses wanting to store all data sets and invest in processes to manage, move or even duplicate data for full business use. Afterall, if the business has the data why not use it? However, such data related processes cost money and also pose the risk of devaluing the data.

A business should therefore build its EIM strategy around a data storage and management facility that removes data silos and doesn’t allow for too much data movement or duplication. Only applicable business data should be stored for analysis and thus used – ensuring that the company has a process in place to extract the most ‘bang for its buck’.

One way to explore the possibility of cutting unnecessary costs in this regard, perhaps a business should explore the concept of edge computing – generating, collecting and analysing data as close to source as possible. This may have the potential to remove the unnecessary data excess and duplication that seems to face many businesses today.

The next big technology trend

The evolving digital landscape proves just how beneficial technology can be to supporting business innovation and growth. There is no denying this but the pace at which technology continues to evolve and the need to constantly adapt, adopt, replace and/or upgrade is difficult to manage and many businesses are confused about what technologies they should be spending on.

Business leaders know that they simply can’t afford to not invest in newer technologies, which often spurs a fear of missing out on the latest tech trend and thus hastily investments. The reality however is that any technology investment costs money and making a decision that has not been extensively investigated could end up costing the business more than just the upfront capital investment. Not all technology may be relevant for a business and its core data strategy and as such, any technology consideration should have the business objectives at its core and must map back to the business case and ROI parameters, to be of any value.

Data rules and regulations

We are operating in times where the protection of data should not be considered an afterthought, but a very strategic pillar of core business principles, data strategies, investments and subsequently business success. While initially such a focus will involve a capital outlay, not paying attention to required data regulations requirements can pose significant risk to business, both from a reputational and financial cost aspect. And all small costs in such regard can add up over time.

By just placing a focus on these few identified aspects a business will likely be able to reposition its EIM strategy to ensure the right decisions are made – ones that support the business in achieving its objectives while showing long-term value and a positive ROI.


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