Today, most business leaders view data as a valuable resource. It can tell them whether profits are up or down compared to this time six months ago, whether specific technology investments have paid off yet and much more. As more decision-makers realize they can’t ignore the information they have, they increasingly pay attention to data management. It encompasses all aspects related to collection, storage and usage. Here are some potential benefits of data management for business security and the environment.
1. Supports Business Resilience
A primary part of business security involves leaders knowing how to respond quickly and decisively as things change. A 2022 S&P Global report indicated significant percentages of organizational leaders participating in data-driven decision-making. When companies reap the benefits of data management, individuals who must make tough choices under pressure will have reliable resources to guide them.
More specifically, the report showed 44% of respondents say data drives most strategic decisions in their organizations. Then, 26% of people said that was the case for nearly all choices made. Only 9% of respondents said only a few of their strategic decisions were data-driven and 21% said some fell into that category.
A survey question also asked participants if and how they thought the importance of data within their organizations would change over the next year. The results revealed 90% of people believed it would be more important. Only 1% thought it’d be less critical and the remaining 9% thought it would stay the same.
These findings highlight how most company representatives use data to some extent when making decisions. The research also explored the most notable benefits people expected by being involved with data-driven businesses. Improved agility was the top answer, chosen by 56% of those polled. Other popular responses included increased sales (44%), enhanced competitive advantage (40%) and reduced risk exposure (39%).
Excellent data management allows people to access information when needed and trust it is reliable. They can then enhance all decision-making processes when the relevant statistics are readily available.
2. Empowers Businesses to Minimize Physical Paperwork
There has been an ongoing push for companies to reduce reliance on physical documents. Doing that is especially important for businesses that handle health, financial or other information that requires special handling. Many such organizations have software to ensure data containing personal details gets stored and handled correctly, thanks to built-in checks.
Storing data through digital means only makes the information somewhat safe. Data center outages are incredibly costly, but statistics indicate preventable issues cause more than two-thirds of downtime instances. Thus, if a company representative does their due diligence and ensures the data center provider has a robust preventive maintenance plan, they’re much less likely to suffer future outages resulting in temporary data inaccessibility.
Better information access is one of the potential benefits of data management, particularly if the company uses a cloud-based storage system. Then, authorized parties can access the documents they need from anywhere. There are also no risks associated with paperwork getting lost or damaged. People can log into secure platforms and re-download additional copies if required.
There are substantial environmental benefits tied to minimizing paper documents. Consider the case of PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications, Inc., two companies handling telecommunications and wireless networks in the Philippines. Customers of three of the business arms recently transitioned to paperless billing.
Data collected about 2019 business operations indicated the migration would save more than 9 million sheets of paper and 93 liters of ink per month. The change also prevents the chopping down of more than 1,000 trees monthly that ordinarily got used for paper-making processes.
It takes time and dedication to transition to paperless billing. But, these outcomes show the results are often well worthwhile because they bring so many advantages to everyone involved.
3. Enables Safe and Productive Data-Sharing for Better Environmental Research
Effective environmental research is arguably more important than ever, particularly with so many businesses already experiencing climate change’s effects. A 2022 Deloitte study indicated 97% of participating companies were in that category. Relatedly, 89% of C-suite executives polled believe there’s a climate crisis and 63% reported their organizations being very concerned about it.
Data alone cannot solve climate change. However, one of the benefits of data management is that it can help people work together to tackle the issue. Consider a two-year UNESCO project that will use environmental data to study how climate change impacts marine life. This global and groundbreaking initiative will deploy a consistent methodology to take simultaneous samples from numerous marine sites.
In another case, IBM will work with NASA on several artificial-intelligence-enabled projects targeting climate change and its current and future effects. Responsible data-sharing practices could also strengthen public health developments. A World Health Organization policy announced in 2022 requires equitable, ethical and efficient data sharing for all research projects undertaken by or supported by them.
Sharing data effectively and safely has positive planet-related effects. That’s because unnecessary information storage leads to bigger carbon footprints due to the resources required to keep ever-increasing amounts of data.
Compelling arguments also exist for how shared data could also help people conduct research faster. Using already-accessible data could reduce or eliminate the need to carry out certain experiments. Then, the overall amount of data stored and used is less, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint.
Integration Best Practices
People often only accept change if they can clearly see the benefits. However, staying open to individuals’ concerns and trying to put their minds at ease can get everyone on board with the challenges of managing data differently.
Another best practice is to strongly consider hiring an outside consultant to guide your company through the process. Make sure to tell that professional your primary goals, whether you want to go paperless to reduce physical waste or are interested in making your company more resilient for the future.
Finally, choose some metrics to track as you move through each stage of the data management improvement efforts. Seeing how things change over time will help you keep an accurate perspective while simultaneously revealing if you need to change course to meet your desired goals.
Are You Ready to Experience the Benefits of Data Management?
These examples show the enticing benefits of data management available to business representatives who pursue them. However, you must realize that making improvements is often a highly involved process requiring potential months or years of doing things differently.
By following these tips, you’ll be well-positioned to reap the advantages described above and others not mentioned here. Then, you’ll have the best chance of helping your company compete in a rapidly changing business landscape.