Being data-driven is being efficient.
You just have to look at how Netflix uses analytics to select movies, create content, and make multimillion dollar decisions to understand that data lies at the heart of successful, high-performing companies.
If you want to be the best, you need to gather data about everything you do. From every department and all the way down to every project, assignment or campaign that is run.
Data can help you solve problems, see performance, and improve processes.
The problem is while this may be the case, according to the Harvard Business Review cross-industry studies show that on average, less than half of an organization’s structured data is actively used in making decisions—and less than 1% of its unstructured data is analyzed or used at all.
More than that, 80% of analysts’ time is spent simply discovering and preparing data.
This is a problem.
The core job of analytics is to help companies gain valuable insights.
The best way to make this happen? Centralization.
Centralizing data sources across your entity can assure that each division of your organization has access to a common source of trusted data, allowing for increased productivity, optimized collaboration and more confident decision-making.
Centralization allows workers to spend less time on data production, and more time analyzing the data.
“I think the more informed finance departments out there have recognised that they don’t just need to produce the financial information more efficiently,” says PwC UK’s Mark O’Sullivan. “They have to show they can actually analyse, interpret and predict rather than just produce. They’re also starting to realise that they already have a lot of the thinking, systems, processes, and controls in place for the more important strategic information relating to their key resources and relationships, such as their customers, their employees, and their supply chain.”
Bottom line, the key lies in bringing it all together.
Eliminate Data Silos
The more data your organization can share, the better able it is to make plans and to move forward with its goals. When you have data silos the free flow of information across the company is hampered, since this means that repositories of fixed data remain within a single department’s control and are isolated from the rest of the organization.
This becomes a problem as various departments try to work together. Siloed information leads to company fragmentation, which will ultimately prevent executives from seeing the big picture clearly.
To this end Netflix has created Metacat, “a metadata solution intended to facilitate the discovery, treatent, and management of Netflix’s data.”
Centralizing data eliminates data silos by integrating all information into a single, shareable source. This minimizes the amount of time spent bringing together and comparing competing data sets and reduces the inefficiencies caused by inaccurate or incomplete data. One version of truth results in a shared set of conclusions- the right one.
When organizations rely on decentralized data sources, complications related to securing and integrating company data expand greatly. On the other hand, centralizing data allows organizations to improve their data governance capabilities. It minimizes the risks involved in mishandling information, and provides less opportunities for errors to arise.
Optimize Data Analytics
We’ve already established that data is an asset. With the proper investment of time and attention, data can generate revenue and provide the opportunity for growth. With data analytics, the understanding and manipulation of business data can be a critical component in the discovery of actionable insights.
Netflix makes sure to leverage their data, performing “context-rich analysis to provide insight into every aspect of [their] business, partners, and members’ experience with Netflix.”
That being said, data analysis is directly tied to the quality of data available.
Moving to a centralized data source assures that all business decisions are made from the same set of trusted data points. With verified and accurate data at hand, you can more easily identify and take advantage of industry trends and changes and predict future demands.
When data isn’t centralized and lives in multiple places, it makes it difficult for teams to answer even simple questions. When you centralize data that’s being generated from multiple sources, companies will be well-placed to make better business decisions. When data is decentralized and disorganized, data becomes an obstacle rather than an asset.
Focus on What’s Important
With all data centralized and stored in one place, your staff will spend less time organizing the data and more time focusing on achieving business goals. Centralization makes it easier to get every department in-sync to deliver the same messages and experiences consistently.
For the c-suite, this means they will be well-placed to see broader trends and make enhanced decisions. Data centralization leads to more meaningful financial reporting, ensuring that the same data is available across the organization and increasing your ROI.
For finance teams, the best tool out there for centralizing data is Datarails.
Centralize Data with the Tool Built for Finance
With Datarails, finance work remains unchanged as professionals continue working with Excel as they’re used to. At the same time, organizations benefit from an enterprise-class platform that lets employees use Excel, a tool built for personal use, on an organizational scale without running the risk of inaccuracy, unnecessary errors, or data loss. With Datarails, Excel is enhanced into a database-centric organizational solution.
Datarails’ patented technology consolidates and stores all Excel-based data on a cloud-based centralized database. It allows finance professionals to optimize processes with automation, all without changing the way work is done.
Finance professionals can access and leverage financial and operational data independently, regardless of technical competency. This means the finance team can easily support planning, analysis and reporting needs on-the-go to drive faster and more effective decisions.
Datarails is an enterprise-class FP&A solution that empowers FP&A analysts and finance professionals to independently work with data and deliver actionable, data-driven insights. Finally, count on numbers you can trust and reduce inefficiencies without having to change how you work on Excel. With Datarails, strengthen the connection between finance and operations to drive better organizational decisions.