Data Is the New Currency for Digital Transformation

Data Is the New Currency for Digital TransformationThese days, business leaders know that data is important to execute their strategy. That’s true, but it’s still underestimating the importance of data. The information your business generates and accesses is not merely a tool for operational execution. It’s so essential to the success of a modern business that it must be handled as carefully and strategically as currency. Like finances, data requires the focused attention of the C-suite and the Board.

Data is instrumental to innovation in product and service design, to efficiencies in supply line management, and to effectiveness in marketing. Take customer experience, which is the true driving force behind the idea of “digital transformation.” Personalization is key to digital customer experience. We expect easy, automated processes as our primary interaction, whether we’re placing an order, checking a reservation, or researching a purchase. We expect businesses to know us—to remember our buying history, to have a record of our customer support requests, to know we updated our mailing address last time.

That unified experience has to be built on a foundation of unified data. But data is all over the place, in many silos throughout the organization, perhaps in incompatible formats, perhaps duplicated, without a clear source of truth. Is this any way to treat the lifeblood of your business?

Treat Data like Currency

Think about data the way you handle money within a company. You don’t want employees wasting funds—spending them counter-productively, giving them away, losing them. You give various departments a budget: the money they need to accomplish their goals, to buy equipment or other resources. You monitor the expenses, you audit. You know where the money is going, and why. You can produce that information for internal purposes or, where required, for legal or regulatory needs. Basically, money is too necessary to keep completely locked up, but too important to just throw around.

Data should be treated in similar fashion. This can be a little more complicated, because data can be used over and over, by many departments, and for multiple purposes. A dollar can only be spent once. All the more reason to make the right data available where it’s needed, and you want to establish controls to prevent mishandling.

Informatica has been working to build this level of governance into our platform for years, and we’ve recently made a significant step forward. We recently acquired Diaku, a pioneering startup whose data governance solution is helping customers across the United States and Europe. Combined with the Informatica platform, we’re able to offer the industry’s first true enterprise data governance solution.

The way forward for any business lies, in good part, through smarter use of its data. Like money and other key resources, leaders must look to comprehensively govern and wisely leverage their data.

Watch for my next blog where I will discuss a practical approach to data governance for business and IT executives.