Food for thought – a diet of data?

Without data, your organization will be starved of food for thought. As Sherlock Holmes said: “Data, data, data – I cannot make bricks without clay.”

Nadeem Malik Nadeem Malik

How many times have you heard the phrase “food for thought?”

Food for thought could be an idea or opinion you have previously not considered. Or one you heard and then rejected. When you say “food for thought” it means you will think about it, because it could inspire new ideas or give impetus to existing ones.

Today, food for thought among organizations is very focused – spread across recession, the health crisis and competitors. In short there’s a lot to be concerned about. This leaves you with little room to consider the kind of food for thought that can help you with decision-making, your strategy, or your business resilience.

How do you find it? In short, the answer is with data. As Sherlock Holmes said: “Data, data, data – I cannot make bricks without clay.”

Data is everywhere, in many places and many forms, and much of it never becomes food for thought at all. Decisions are being made all around you based on incomplete or inaccurate data. Why? Many organizations don’t trust it. Some have no strategy to find, collect and analyze it. Others simply don’t know what they are looking for in their data.

So here are three things to think about in order to ensure you can use data as food for thought in 2021:

  1. Make sure that you’re set up to use data

There is no value to having all the right data if you don’t have the infrastructure or processes to actually use it. You need an effective data loop whereby you can capture, analyze and implement data, testing how effective you are as you go.

Look at your infrastructure to identify whether it’s possible to do this, where data might get lost in the process and how to take away those bottlenecks. Have process mining and process management tools in place to thoroughly investigate whether what you’re doing is working. When you have this data loop in place, you’re ready to put data into it.

  1. Make use of the data you already have

Organizations often underestimate the value of data that they have already. It’s understandable because much of it is hidden in silos, locked away in databases – or even lost. But finding it again can be the key to a whole new world of ideas and possibilities.

Being able to uncover sources of information – something that automated API discovery can help with – and then bring them into the fold can save so much time, effort and resource in the quest for input. When trying to find data for your new data loop, first conduct a thorough investigation of what you already have.

  1. Find out what data is missing and capture it

You probably won’t have all the data you need. Some data has been difficult to capture until recently, such as how consumers use products after they’ve been purchased. Other information you need might be simply something that has never been requested.

The point is that, with IoT technology as low cost and high impact as it is today, there is no reason why the data you need cannot be captured. Whether it is within the business or out in the field, a well-integrated IoT platform can bring in data and even analyze it on the edge to make sure you have the complete picture.

So, as we head into a new year and everyone is looking for some fresh “food for thought,” put data on your to-do list. Plus, make sure you sleep enough, eat well and exercise when you can!