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Data Fitness: Understanding your data as a strategic asset

Your fitness matters – insert groan heard the world over – we all know this. How you fuel, exercise, rest and de-stress your body matters. It’s habitual. And yet, some of us find it challenging to prioritize the things we know will benefit us.

Much like our personal fitness, your data fitness is crucial to the health and longevity of your organization. And much like our personal fitness, your data fitness is a habitual practice that, to be effective, must be done with regularity. The dividends and cost savings are well worth the investment in your data health.

Your Data Health

The last year and a half have proven to be anything but business as usual. The pandemic has been an absolute wrecking ball of disruption that has exposed some pretty staggering gaps and vulnerabilities across the enterprise. With this, many small concessions have been made to ensure productivity, working from home being a well-known example, all the while putting data security into question. In addition, there has been a dramatic increase in volume, variety, and velocity of incoming information.

The IDC predicts by 2025 175 trillion gigabytes of new data will be created. And some data professionals are finding data volumes are growing by 63% per month. This opens the enterprise to unnecessary risk.

As concessions are made and data grows exponentially, how you approach your data fitness will have a direct impact on the health and longevity of your organization.

Approaching Your Data Fitness

With data, your understanding and action should be approached as an ongoing program, not as a one-time project. Many organizations view data clean-ups with a once-in-five-years perspective, to the detriment of safety and security efforts. 

When you change your perception of data fitness from a one-time costly, painful, and frustrating experience, to a manageable, pain-free, and consistent habit, your data then becomes a strategic asset. And with all strategic assets, you begin to uncover business-changing insights that are revealed through understanding your data.

Assessments Matter

Before you hop into your runners and hit the pavement for a 5km jog, understanding your fitness level is important. Much like going to a doctor for an assessment, you need to assess where your data currently is before you hop into a data sprint. No one wants to pull a data muscle.

Data assessments help you answer crucial questions, like: How much data do you have? Where is it? What is redundant, obsolete, and trivial? Who’s using it? And for what purpose? Your data fitness starts with a good understanding of all of these elements.

How You Approach A Data Fitness Program Matters

Your data fitness doesn’t start when you buy the latest “data fitness gadget.” Be aware that who you talk to will propose their solution, who you engage with matters. If you talk to a cloud vendor to address your data fitness, they will sell you cloud storage. If you talk to a repository vendor, they will sell you a repository. 

It’s worth asking, before you jump on the “data migration treadmill,” what did my data assessment tell me about how I should organize and plan my data fitness program?

Designing Your Data Program

Change is painful, but it doesn’t have to be. Having a user-first, data-first approach is key. To develop a data fitness program, there is no need to get rid of your applications as they perform a useful role when well equipped. However, no one application will house the totality of your data no matter what the vendors say. 

A data fitness program comes down to understanding your data, and being able to action it as needed. Asking for a common data set across all applications and repositories is possible – understanding ALL of your data is possible. Through understanding, your data becomes the best asset you have to inform business growth.

Does this sound interesting but you’re not sure where to start? We’d love to tell you more about how Shinydocs clients are using our solutions for better data governance, records management, data quality, analytics, and much more.

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