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When to implement a data platform in a company?

17 May 2024

In a dynamic and digital business environment, companies collect huge amounts of data from various sources. However, due to a number of different factors, they are unable to exploit their business potential. This is not only a problem for large corporations, but also for small and medium-sized companies. When should you consider implementing Business Intelligence solutions, such as a Data Platform, to help manage the vast amounts of information efficiently?

You can find out what Business Intelligence and Data Platform solutions are in our article. Below, we will look at the factors that should influence the decision to implement them in a company.

Too much data

Modern tools and technologies, such as CRM systems, Google Analytics, ERP systems, etc., allow huge amounts of information to be stored and retrieved, e.g. about website users, sales results, production issues, HR issues and so on. Each department of the company generates gigabytes of information per week. However, the data is available in a variety of forms and formats: from spreadsheets, through presentations to graphics, such as screenshots. In such an environment, it is easy to get lost. As a result, valuable data is lost in the tangle of thousands of pieces of information. For this reason, many companies do not use the full potential of the data they collect to make key business decisions. In order to prevent this, we start using basic tools that enable collecting data, such as reports in spreadsheets. However, it quickly becomes apparent that we have dozens of such documents, and finding the right correlations in them is almost impossible or requires a huge investment of time.

Scattered data and too many systems

If, in the course of our work, we find ourselves looking for the files and reports we need in different places, and the documents we find are often not the ones we need, this is a sign that the data is inadequately categorised and stored in too many places. This situation can be particularly troublesome when we need to access the right data at a specific time, e.g. to present sales figures to the management. Not only do our nerves suffer, but we also lose a considerable amount of time trying to find the source of the data and then extracting the relevant information. Lack of consistency, duplicated files, or many outdated documents can further complicate the analysis process.
Such data storage may also enforce more storage space for your files. And this can lead to higher costs. To prevent this from happening, companies are increasingly opting to use various external systems. Depending on their needs, these can be: CRM, ERP, SCM, AIS, and many others. The number of these is also growing exponentially, again leading to a situation that not only hinders effective information management but can also lead to reduced employee efficiency. One solution to this problem is to merge all data, regardless of the source, into one place. This will eliminate the need to switch between programs, which in turn allows employees to use information more effectively, make faster decisions and collaborate better. Systems integration is therefore becoming a key element in optimising business processes and improving organisational performance.

Basic tools are no longer sufficient

Accumulating large amounts of data in basic tools, such as Microsoft Office programs, can significantly hamper effective data management. These tools start to prove insufficient to handle such large volumes of data because they:

  • work too slowly,
  • do not allow flexible correlation of the necessary information,
  • have limited functionality for analysing data,
  • require manual data supplementation
  • we usually supplement data based on previously generated reports.

Moreover, such tools are incapable of meeting new business requirements. We are talking about the need for fast, real-time data processing, flexible correlation of information from different sources, and advanced data analysis. As a result, the company suffers a drop in productivity and the risk of errors increases.

The need for data analysis

Analysing data is essential in order to draw valuable insights and understand what is really happening in an organisation. Through data analysis we can identify trends, forecast customer behavior, detect potential risks, and uncover new business opportunities.
This is a key part of the decision-making process, as it enables to make choices that are fully informed and based on facts, rather than relying on intuition or guesswork. However, in order for this to happen, we need to be sure that we are relying on true, up-to-date, and complete information.
Therefore, properly analysing data and ensuring that we have access to the right tools and techniques, which Business Intelligence tools provide, may also help with identifying potential errors, and is a key aspect in managing data and achieving business success.

The need for ‘right now’ reports

Data analysis alone is only part of the larger challenge facing decision-makers. Often, businesses need data ‘right now’, preferably in a visualised form, with relevant conclusions. This is when a whole process is set in motion within the company: collecting data from multiple sources in different formats, correlating them (usually using Excel), creating charts, consulting others, etc.
This is a situation that also tends to be a source of stress and, consequently, the risk of human error, for example when manually transcribing data, increases significantly. Business Intelligence solutions allow a continuous, real-time view of visualised data in the form of clear reports, prepared as agreed with the client. Such a solution allows saving time, which will not have to be spent on preparing reports. Instead, we can focus on drawing conclusions and preparing recommendations for action. The implementation of a data platform in a company becomes indispensable when the organisation is struggling with excessive data, its dispersion, and the lack of effective tools to manage it.
The need to quickly access and analyse data and to ensure the consistency of information are key factors suggesting the need to implement such a solution. Integrating data into a single location enables optimisation of business processes, improved efficiency, and faster decision-making based on sound analysis.
With Business Intelligence solutions such as the Unified Data Platform, a company can effectively manage data and use it to achieve business success.