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For many modern organizations, becoming data-driven means having the right insights to make effective decisions quickly and confidently. It’s no surprise that digital business leaders are investing heavily in their data platforms.

That includes everything from selecting appropriate tools and technologies to creating systems of record that enable timely analysis of critical metrics and customer feedback. But what constitutes the fundamental requirements necessary for a successful data platform?

This blog post explores five of the fundamental features necessary for gaining data platform business insights that set you on course for better decision-making. Let’s explore how these five fundamentals can help you build a reliable, robust foundation for an optimized modern data platform ready to transform your organization into a more informed enterprise.

Fundamental #1: A strong data strategy to leverage business objectives

The first fundamental element in constructing a successful data platform is the development of a comprehensive data strategy. This pivotal strategy must be endorsed at the highest level, ensuring its alignment with the organization’s objectives. The merging of IT and business perspectives within the strategy allows for a clear understanding of how to leverage data to achieve your desired business outcomes.

Maintaining a narrow scope and concentrating on a maximum three-year plan with a built-in review process twice a year is crucial. This approach allows agile adaptation to evolving business needs and technological advancements, ensuring the data strategy remains relevant and beneficial to the organization.

Fundamental #2: Skilled people to build and drive a successful data platform

This pillar encompasses the roles and responsibilities of your data team and the wider organization’s users who are not part of this specialized group.

The data team should be composed of individuals with diverse skills, including data scientists, analysts, engineers, and data governance experts. These individuals are responsible for the data platform’s development, maintenance, and effectiveness.

When recruiting and nurturing talent, organizations must be strategic and proactive. Recruiting individuals who are not only technically competent but also curious, creative, and keen to translate data insights into actionable business strategies is essential.

Your organization should also offer continuous training and development opportunities that enable the data team to keep pace with rapidly evolving technologies and methodologies. The combined focus on people, culture, and talent underpins a successful data platform and helps transform the organization into a data-driven enterprise.

Fundamental #3: Robust processes for efficient operations and strategic decision-making

Another efficient cornerstone in constructing a successful data platform is establishing robust processes. These processes encompass the policies, procedures, guiding principles, and metrics for tracking governance. The goal is to dictate how your data is created, provisioned, stored, consolidated, and shared. Developing a systematic approach to your data management ensures consistency, control, and quality, all critical for the success of a data-driven organization.

Data creation and provisioning should have clearly defined standards and procedures that stipulate the data format, quality, and timeliness. You should also manage data storage according to stringent security protocols and data privacy regulations to ensure the highest data integrity and confidentiality level.

Equally important is data consolidation and sharing. These workflows should be facilitated by a unified platform that integrates data from different sources, enabling a holistic view of the organization’s data landscape. Control measures should regulate data sharing to ensure that only authorized users can access relevant information.

By methodically implementing these processes, organizations can enhance their data governance, drive efficiency, and foster a culture of accountability and transparency. Establishing these robust processes supports the efficient operation of the data platform and elevates them to become an asset that drives strategic decision-making and business growth.

Fundamental #4: Technology – the backbone of your modern data platform

Technology is the fourth building block in constructing a successful data platform. This pillar refers to the systems, tools, and architecture chosen to support the data strategy. Base your technology selection on the organization’s needs, overall business strategy, and future vision. The technology you adopt must have the scalability to handle your data volume and variety, flexible to evolve with your business, and be capable of integrating your existing systems and tools.

Your technology stack should consist of solutions for data sourcing, storage, processing, analysis, and visualization, among others. It should incorporate cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud computing to maximize data-driven insights and enhance decision-making capabilities.

However, the choice of technology must be strategic and future-oriented. It’s not about chasing the latest tech trend but finding a solution that aligns with your business goals and can scale with your growth. This approach requires considering the technology’s longevity, scalability, and compatibility.

The technology you select will form the backbone of the data platform, enabling the organization to effectively leverage the potential of data. Making the right technology choices is fundamental to the success of your data platform and, ultimately, your data-driven enterprise.

Fundamental #5: Creating solid data governance, culture, and literacy

The fifth and final cornerstone in building a successful data platform is establishing sound data governance, fostering a data-driven culture, and promoting data literacy across the organization.

Treating data as a strategic asset involves implementing clear data governance structures that dictate policies and procedures around data creation, protection, sharing, and disposal. It ensures data quality and security, compliance with regulatory requirements, and, ultimately, the reliability of generated insights.

Creating a data-driven culture, however, goes beyond policies and procedures. It involves fostering an environment where data continuously informs decision-making, innovation is encouraged, and data literacy is promoted. Data literacy includes educating all users within your organization about the importance of data and providing them with the necessary skills to understand, interpret, and use data effectively in their respective roles.

Promoting data literacy equips individuals throughout the organization to leverage data to drive action, enabling a much broader employee base to participate in the data-driven decision-making process. This step enhances data utilization and facilitates the organization's transformation into a data-driven enterprise. Providing training, creating a user-friendly interface, and regularly communicating the importance of data in strategic decision-making are some ways to achieve this.

Crafting a solid foundation for business transformation and better decision making

Building a successful data platform requires a well-defined data strategy, the right people and culture, efficient processes, suitable technology, and strong data governance focusing on literacy. These are the fundamental cornerstones that Columbus can help you establish.

Our experts skilfully define and implement data strategies to align with your organizational goals. We are committed to helping you select the right modern data platform that best suits your needs and drives your business toward a truly data-driven enterprise.


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