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By Sanjay Khatnani, Managing Partner, J2 Solutions

It’s a new year (thankfully), and a time of resolutions. Sure, you’ve got your standard ‘eat better,’ ‘exercise more,’ ‘spend more time with the kids,’ ‘volunteer more,’ resolutions, but what are your new year’s data resolutions? Yes, that’s a thing—and it’s worthy of your attention!

The events of the last year have taught us that in order to survive in Datatimes of challenge, we must be more agile than ever, ready to respond to threats or opportunities at a moment’s notice. This constant state of readiness isn’t likely to change anytime soon as we continue to face the enormous impact of a pandemic that’s shaken the world to its core. Our ability to maintain business continuity and resilience is largely defined by how well we use data to make informed decisions.

This is not a new concept. We talked a lot about data last year—using data to drive revenue, bring in more business, improve operations and even pivot during a crisis. Today, I ask you this: is there more your business can be doing as it continues to navigate the uncertainty? Chances are, there is.

I challenge you to take a step back and reevaluate your data strategy as you move deeper into the year ahead.  There’s never been a better time than now to rethink your philosophies around data—to delve more deeply into how you will use data to drive smart business decisions that ignite innovation and spur growth.

To guide you on your data journey, I’ve outlined a series of probing questions that will help you reinvigorate your data strategy in the new year:

Objectives:
  1. Have you defined your data objectives for the year?
  2. Do you have well-defined data plans and methodologies to support those objectives?
  3. How committed are you to your data initiatives?
  4. Do your data objectives align with the business strategy laid out by your CEO?
  5. Are your data goals customer-centric?
Backup and Security:
  1. In a now predominantly virtual business environment, have you taken additional steps to secure your data?
  2. How are you preserving the integrity, authenticity and confidentiality of your data in the new landscape?
  3. Do you have backup and recovery protocols in place?
Collaboration:
  1. Is your data siloed by department or being used holistically across the organization?
  2. If siloed, how do you plan on removing the silos?
  3. If used across the organization, is it consistent, clear and focused on achieving mutual goals across departments?
  4. Are all departments aligned on how the data will be gathered, stored and used?
Platform:
  1. Do you have an integrated technology solution that gives users a cohesive view of data from multiple sources?
  2. Does it offer easy, permission-based access?
  3. Does it have analytics capabilities to support smart business decisions across the organization?

The business community will never go back to the way it was. This much we know. The good news is, we’ve never been better positioned for resilience. Years ago, a pandemic of this nature would have had an even more crippling effect on a much larger population of businesses. Thanks to our ability to capture, organize and pull insights from data, we can make more informed decisions and quickly pivot our strategies in response to the shifting tides of uncertainty.

With 2020 behind us and a fresh, new year ahead, business leaders have been given a tremendous opportunity to lay the foundation for success with a well-thought-out data strategy that’s developed in accordance with the changing landscape of business, aligned to business goals and applied consistently across the organization.

What is your new year’s data resolution?

 

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