3 Things To Consider For Unified Data Success

3 Things To Consider For Unified Data Success

  • Datameer, Inc.
  • May 14, 2020

Companies strive to unify their data because, by default, most data is inaccessible. It’s often scattered throughout the company and divided into information silos among business units and teams. Without a central way to manage data, businesses can’t make informed decisions. When companies can unify their data, they make all of their business units more productive. But unifying data can pose a tremendous organizational challenge, as well as an engineering one. If you feel this way – you aren’t alone. Many data professionals feel like they are “drinking water from a fire hose.” There are challenges, not only in unifying data and managing data but also in generating insights from the data. The focus should be more on asking the right questions rather than seeking the best possible answers. Unified data architecture can help.

What Is Unified Data?

Unified data is when a company merges its many fragmented data sources into one, single central view. The best insights are generated not from answering one question but from answering a set of connected questions. Answering these connected questions requires using a connected set of data sources. It requires us to make a paradigm shift – from looking at each faction of data as an individual unit to viewing data from multiple sources as a single entity.

Unified data provides a more complete and accurate picture of a company’s data, but unifying it is far from simple. Companies need a system to unite them to tie data sources, such as an analytics platform like Datameer Spotlight. Here are three things to keep in consideration when starting in this field:

1. Customer-focused data strategy

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.” – Steve Jobs

A company’s data strategy should also start with the customer. A customer today has several touchpoints with the company, and the touchpoints continue to increase with the widespread use of technology. Customer experience is at play throughout the customer journey: evaluating a product, during the purchase process, and during consumption. Therefore, creating a 360-degree view of the customer is the first step in the journey toward providing a better customer experience.

Companies will need to quickly start looking at the benefits of exploring and utilizing multiple data sources to achieve business outcomes. Companies need to look inside and outside at the data sources that are freely available or purchased externally. They need to explore and work with large amounts of unstructured data – which can be difficult to process and analyze. They also need to keep the customer at the center of their data strategy to experience the best possible.

2. Integration of unstructured and structured data

Integrating structured and unstructured data is one of the most important tasks required to run unified analytics. Structured data from transactional systems enable understanding of what a customer is doing. Unstructured data from sources like blogs, videos, discussion forums, and call center discussions allow businesses to understand what a customer is thinking and feeling. 

Looking at these data sources in an integrated manner creates an important link between “what the customer is thinking” and “what the customer is doing.” Any analysis done using integrated data would have a far higher quality of insights than analyzing either of these sources alone.

3. Look beyond traditional sources

Organizations have traditionally looked at utilizing data from within. However, there is a wealth of information available by purchasing 3rd party data and public data sets. Imagine a clothing retailer attempting to determine whether to put a summer clothing line on sale. The retailer can purchase 3rd party weather data and accurately estimate when it would not be warm enough for summer clothing. That information can be used to determine the sales expected, which would help determine inventory. 

There is also plenty of data openly accessible. Macroeconomic data for most of the world is available from the United Nations websites. The U.S. census information is available for download online, and 500 million tweets per day are available for analysis. As I’ve written previously, this mostly free data is also valuable to enterprises if leveraged optimally and in real-time.

Data sources’ number and diversity will continue to expand as organizations migrate their data to cloud data warehouses like Snowflake, Azure, and Redshift. (For more info, see my comparison of Snowflake & Redshift.) There may be many other data sources we cannot imagine today, but they will soon become a reality.

How can analytics platforms help with unified data?

Emerging analytics platforms, like Datameer Spotlight, are purpose-built to capture and analyze data from various sources. They are, by definition, tools for unifying data. Most offer pre-built integrations to common systems and universal APIs for less common ones. They allow enterprises to tie their ERP, CRM, web applications, marketing systems, customer applications, and data partners to view the data from one interface.

What should you look for in an analytics platform?

The best analytics platforms have highly intuitive interfaces designed to mask the complexity of the underlying data architecture. They use dashboards to help users visualize their data. Datameer Spotlight features machine learning algorithms to simplify and automate the process of analysis. Brands can use an analytics platform to knit data from across silos, business units, and teams together and provide everyone access because the more individuals within a data-informed business, the better.

See how you can unify and add third-party assets in Datameer Spotlight’s product demo. By adding and tagging these within Datameer Spotlight’s Analytics Hub, your entire team can share and utilize these great assets all from one place. 

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