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Data During Disruption: Three Things Tech Execs Must Do NOW

Moving your data to the cloud is inevitable, so make the move sooner rather than later to manage disruptions.

In the first half of 2020 alone, business — and life — as usual was disrupted by a global pandemic, geopolitical conflict and unrest, and a significant macroeconomic contraction, a.k.a. recession. Virtually every facet of the economy has been impacted, forcing companies to cut costs, reduce risk, and accelerate the move to cloud technologies.

Among other things, the economic downturn has highlighted the criticality of data as a strategic asset. From business decision-making and competitive differentiation to embedding data products for added customer value, knowing what data you have and leveraging it for maximum impact is more imperative than ever before.

Here are three things tech executives must do in order for their organizations to survive–and thrive–in the current global economic and public health crises.

Gather Your Best Data

When you inventory all the data in your organization, you’ll likely find that you have quite a bit of data that you don’t need while simultaneously uncovering a trove of data from which you’re not getting the most value.

The key right now is to double-down on the data that is accurate, relevant, and timely — the “a.r.t. of data” — and deprioritize data that lacks any one or more of these three attributes.

For example, would you rather have current sentiment data from your top prospects and customers or last quarter’s P&L sheet? If you need to make real-time decisions you picked the former, which leads me to my next point: You might find that some of your most valuable data is ephemeral, which can be unnerving for those who are traditionally tied to persistent data. Focus on accuracy, relevance and timeliness–even if it makes you uncomfortable, and especially if it challenges your traditional assumptions!

Centralize Your Data in the Cloud During Disruption

A typical business draws from 24 different data sources–some on-premise applications, others hosted in the cloud, and maybe a few streaming data feeds. While this is already complicated, it’s only going to become more chaotic and difficult to manage as the average number of applications continues to climb.

Simply put, if you don’t centralize your “best” data in a cloud data warehouse now, you’re in for an increasingly expensive and impossible-to-manage morass–which will ultimately render all of your data unusable.

Just as servers and applications before them, data warehouses and data lakes are migrating to the cloud for the same reasons: cost, risk and agility. Moving your data to the cloud is inevitable, so make the move sooner rather than later.

Add Data to Your Product or Service

Especially in an economic downturn, it’s important to find new and innovative ways to make your product or service essential. Adding value by embedding statistics, indicators or analytics into the user experience opens up all kinds of new revenue opportunities, including advertising, cross-sell and up-sell options, as well as freemium-to-premium pathways. The one requirement?

You need to have the best data readily available in the Cloud.

Using data as content to repurpose or to resell as new offerings to your existing base and into new markets is another incremental revenue opportunity that could actually transform your business.

For example, I recently worked with a freight company that had strong data assets to optimize operations and predict mechanical failures. The company developed an app using this knowledge and now sells that app to its competitors. By sharing knowledge you’ve gleaned from the data that no other company has or is willing to share, you make your product or service more valuable — and more essential.

The bottom line is that investing in your data strategy during an economic downturn, while counterintuitive, is actually the best way to survive and thrive in uncertain times. It just might transform your entire business for the better. Be innovative. Use your imagination. Even your competitors can be a revenue source during a time of economic contraction and disruption.

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