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The Truth About Data: Stop looking for magical solutions to data problems

You can’t wave a magic wand and become a data-driven business. Amplifi shares the truth about data governance.

No one has to work very hard to get what they want in fairy tales. The fairy godmother waves her wand. The goose lays a golden egg. The kindly axe-wielding woodcutter kills the wolf. And they all live happily ever after.

If only the same was true of data. Unfortunately – and fairly obviously – it isn’t.

There is no fairy godmother that can transform your bad data into good. There is no goose that lays solid gold data ROI. No woodcutter is about to jump in and cut down the obstacles on your data journey. If you want to get value out of your data, you need to change your organisational practices and attitudes to data – and there is no magic spell that can do it for you.

That’s not to say that you can’t work some organisational magic around data – it’s just less ‘wizardry’ and more ‘sleight of hand’. Just because there is hard work involved, it doesn’t have to feel that way for your business, and in this blog we’re going to show you how to make your data transformation feel (mostly) effortless.

But first, we’re going to a kill a fairy.

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Magic isn’t real, so stop looking for it

The data industry is filled with acronyms and buzzwords that can feel like magical solutions to your data challenges. The more complicated or difficult your data problem, the more marvellous these solutions can appear: who wouldn’t want to buy in a tool that fixes all your data concerns overnight, like a fast-growing bag of magic beans? PMDM, ERP, AI, they are mysterious and compelling, seeming to offer an instant – not to mention specific – fix to your data woes.

Yet look closer, and nothing in the data industry’s acronym economy is really selling you an instant solution. All they are offering is a tool or service that can help you to manage your data. They’re not saying, ‘hand us a pumpkin and we’ll turn it into a coach’. They’re saying, ‘hand us some pumpkins and we’ll help you turn them into bio-fuel to power your coach’. The promise is to help your organisation get better results from your data – they can’t get the data and extract the results for you. Every data solution needs wraparound services or initiatives to work effectively, whether you tackle these yourself in-house, or bring in an external partner to guide you.

So no, data fairies are not real, and next time you see an acronym and think it’s going to sprinkle magic dust on your business, stamp that thought out.

Making ‘magic’ with data governance

The key to becoming a data-driven business is to transform your organisational attitudes to data. Data needs to become part of the fabric of your business: something that everyone understands, and looks after, and uses effectively. It’s only through this process that whatever tool or software or technology you buy in to help can actually deliver results. You can’t buy everyone a hammer and call them all carpenters, and you can’t buy a data solution and say you have a data-driven business. People drive data solutions as much as technology, and changing their behaviour is often the hardest part of any data transformation.

That’s where data governance comes in. It may not be magic, but it does have a transformational effect on your business if you get it right.

Data governance in its most basic form is your business’ data rulebook: it’s the processes you have to follow as an organisation to make sure that your data quality stays high, and your data technology is used correctly.

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Data governance done well, however, is much more than that. It’s a ‘hearts and minds’ exercise, winning people over to your data story and changing the way that people perceive the role of data in your business. A data governance strategy that fully integrates people, data and software doesn’t just tell people what to do, it explains why they need to do it, and how it benefits them. This shift can be the difference between someone ignoring data guidelines that they might perceive as pedantic, or at odds with their own data agenda, and someone taking steps to input or edit data correctly, always keeping the business’ core data objectives in mind.

It’s this approach that stops data governance from feeling like hard work – a set of rules intended to disrupt your work – and instead makes it feel like a simple, worthwhile and effortless process. The result? A business-wide transformation, bringing people and data together to drive the business towards its goals.

Ready to brace yourself for more truths about data? Download our latest guide below: 'The Truth About Data'.

The Truth About Data

Here, we put data management in the spotlight to reveal the truth about data, including...

  • De-mystifying the acronym economy
  • Data Governance shortcuts for your business
  • Data foundations every organisation needs
  • The limitations of technology
  • How to navigate 'industry insights'
Download Guide