Follow the digital traces of the users 


(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 4 2018)

Knowledge and data management today has become an essential managerial process necessary for creating, sharing, storing, using and managing the knowledge and information of any organisation. It is a collection of systematic approaches used to facilitate the flow of information and knowledge between the right people at the right time in the right format at the right cost, so they can act more efficiently and effectively to create value for the organisation and achieve a competitive advantage. Needless to say, no one would argue that data management or knowledge management does not need to be made an organisational priority. But there are technical and organisational complexities to consider and hurdles to overcome that can make it very difficult to realise the potential. We sat down with Katie Fabiszak, CMO of Riversand Technologies and 20-year data management industry veteran, to talk about the critical need for and potential roadblocks of harnessing an organisation’s data with the aid of today’s data management technologies.

Has data management technology lived up to its potential? 

The short answer is no, not really, and it has nothing to do with the actual technology or systems that are commercially available. It has more to do with an organisation’s ability to truly understand how they need to use data to reach their full potential. For starters, data management needs to be viewed as much more than just technology and something that can be ‘implemented’ – it needs to be viewed as a discipline and become widely adopted throughout an organisation. In order for data management to live up to its potential, the actual data itself must be shared and leveraged by being integrated into business processes to fulfil a particular business purpose. Only then can it begin to demonstrate its potential and deliver its true value.

How important is it for an organisation to create a formal institutional data management system? 

It’s just as important as acquiring customers. Organisations need to figure out a way to treat data as an asset that needs to be protected – just as they would protect customer relationships or other important business assets. By ‘institutionalising’ data, organisations are managing data for a purpose. Perhaps that purpose is to ensure compliance with a regulatory mandate or perhaps it is to meet a corporate business initiative of improving customer satisfaction and reducing customer churn. 

What are the benefits of such a system? 

Some of the benefits are shared in the previous question – examples include ensuring compliance or improving the customer experience. Having a good data management system in place could also help companies reduce operational costs by being more efficient in the way their business is run and by saving time and making decisions quicker because the right data is available to team members when they need it.

What types of data should be stored?

The types of data stored are highly dependent on the type of business and industry or market that a business serves. For example, financial institutions may choose to store a lot of information about existing and prospective clients – including everything from demographic and psychographic data to transactional data from purchases made. Customer interactions are key data points that organisations choose to store along with financial details to show the value of a customer over time.

What types of data aren’t worth storing?

It’s not worth storing any data that doesn’t serve a specific business purpose. For example, if a company interacts entirely with their customers in the digital world (e-mail, phone, social media), it may not be necessary to store physical mailing address information. If certain data has been stored in a system from a legacy or historical perspective but it isn’t used for any meaningful purpose, it’s probably not worth storing.

What are the best types of data to store?

Seemingly the best data to capture and store is historical customer interaction information. Every organisation serves a customer – whether that ‘customer’ is a student, patient, consumer, business partner, et cetera. The most important knowledge that a company can have is anything and everything to do with how customers engage with them and historical knowledge of what they have purchased. The more data, knowledge and insight an organisation has on its customers, the more successful it can be at meeting their needs, serving them in the right way and communicating with them at the right time.

In what ways can stored data be used? 

There are a million possible use cases for stored data – the most important thing is making sure that data is accessible and accurate and that people – or, to borrow an old term, ‘knowledge workers’ – can leverage it to do their jobs. One example: using previous buying information to detect patterns and determine the next best product to promote to customers. As digital disruption continues to roll across the organisational landscape locally and globally, companies are increasingly waking up to the value, need and importance of data management practices to stay competitive. Still, they are facing the challenge of leveraging and managing their data as a strategic resource. Those who fail to manage these resources will feel the impact in their organisation’s ability to grow, gain competitive advantage, remain sustainable and to innovate.

It’s a cultural shift to get executive endorsement, cross-functional agreement and alignment to ensure that data becomes integrated into business processes and not relegated to just being a by-product of yet another silo created by technology. True potential will be realised when business outcomes can be articulated clearly as a result of data management efforts.

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Riversand is a global software company that has a vision of helping companies make their data usable and meaningful. Our Master Data Management platform empowers our customers to know their customers better, move products faster, automate processes, mitigate risk and run their businesses smarter. Our customers, partners, and analysts recognise us as a trusted partner, visionary and a leader.

Riversand Technologies Inc.

Picture credit © Jacopo Colombo/Getty Images

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