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Harnessing the power of data: What is holding companies back?

By Katrina Park

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There is an enormous amount of data in the world being created every millisecond. But how do we harness the power of this data? What numbers will help us to understand our customers, company and the greater community? Last week, Six Degrees Executive teamed up with Antony Ugoni, Bupa’s Chief Data Officer, who hosted a webinar all about how to harness the power of data and finding a method to the data. 

Data is a relatively new tool within business’ arsenal, with many small to medium companies still unsure how to harness its power to transform their business. However, many organisations are leading from the front and leveraging big data through strategic analytics, allowing them to create new business models based on their customers – from their habits to their experience. Antony shared two of the major functions and roadblocks that are holding back businesses from using data to their advantage. 

Not having a data-driven team 

Data analytics have become a key part of business success — and capitalising on data depends on building the right team. This doesn’t start and end with the hiring of a solo data scientist and allowing them to sift through millions of numbers. The data team structure is unique, as there needs to be those that understand the numbers and those that can use the data for strategy. These roles are newly emerging roles, but it seems that the value of them is finally being understood as “data scientist” and “data engineer” were both in the top 10 of LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report

Antony also spoke to the importance of having strategy minds within the data science team – to allow that the numbers are given context around what is being done, and where the value in these numbers lie. It’s about creating a data culture within the business. What this means is sharing and encouraging being a data-driven organisation where decisions are made based on data, with the buy-in of those from different departments in the business, placing trust in the data and the surrounding analysis. 

Leading from the top 

As Chief Data Officer, one of the biggest points of focus for Antony is the importance of the leaders understanding the vitality of data. It is a common problem that the C-Suite can lag in their focus on data, as the value of it is still in its infancy.  

Although some leaders are hesitant to invest in data, there are more and more who are not only trusting of the numbers but championing the necessity of data. These leaders create a foundation of trust, and trust is at the root of having a strong data culture, as those who know the numbers know the business best. And they ensure that data insights are not limited to one single department – sharing data-driven insights across the organisation helps different areas of the business find impactful solutions. Along with the leaders putting their trust in the data team, it is also crucial that the data team understand the intricacies of the business through the eyes of the leadership team.

The power of data will emerge as one of the major catalysts for business transformation, focusing on technology upgrades and developing a deeper understanding of customers. Without the team and support of the wider business, organisations will start to fall behind. It’s not just about the data itself, it’s about taking data insights and using them to the advantage of your business. 

Are you looking to expand your data team? Speak to the Six Degrees Technology team today about finding the right talent for you.