Whether you love it or hate it, there is no denying that technology makes your life as an entrepreneur easier. What’s more interesting for a business is that data driven technology is evolving at a rapid pace. Big data was once easily considered implausible three to four years ago. However, today, even SMEs that are driven by technology have managed to use big data effectively.

While increasing technology and data repositories only escalate the security risks, there are businesses who manage to keep consumer and corporate data safe and secure. Here are some ways to incorporate a more data driven culture that can give your business a sustainable model.

Analyze Your Current Workflow

The type of technology you will need to improve certain aspects of your workflow should be considered first. For instance, if there is room for  automation in the customer relationship department, then you may incorporate CRM technology to reduce costs and expedite your workflow. Once you have decided what nature of technology you will need, you can consider the data aspects.

You may have to analyze the marketing and sales aspect of your workflow where applicable. For instance, if you run an online clothing store, you may have need a cloud framework where all the consumer and potential consumer data is stored, computed, and segregated based on value. Such a cloud framework should allow you to eliminate redundancy that generally arises with large data repositories.

Hire the Right Staff

You can’t solely rely on one IT administrator to make data driven decisions. When your workflow is technology-oriented and you want to incorporate consumer data into decision making, you have to think about Information Systems (IS) rather than just IT. For that, you will need a proper staff that can support your operational workflow, data workflow, as well as backend workflow.

Ideally, to make  better data driven decisions , you should look to hire a CIO that can understand the nature of your business, your goals, and what steps to take to achieve those goals. A CIO can help translate the technical jargon of your IS staff and help the board in envisioning the long term approach.

Only Invest In Technology You Need

It’s a given fact that whatever technology you buy, in a couple of quarters of years, there will be upgraded versions available. When it comes to ERM solutions, we’re talking about a lot of investment and ongoing running costs if you regularly invest in new and upcoming technology to improve or expedite certain operations. The fact is that there are multiple technologies available for enterprises today, specialized and non-specialized, so you may invest in some that you may not actually need.

Remember that if there is technology that poses a bigger risk than reward, then there is no reason to invest in it. Big data is definitely an enticing prospect for any business. However, when you have high volumes of data filling your repositories at high velocities, it can be extremely difficult to work out a framework on which you can actually drive ‘valuable data’. If not, you will end up paying sizeable amounts of your revenues in data storage with no essential practical use.

Focus on Evolution

A fast paced transition to more data driven technology will only create more problems than it solves. Revolutionizing your workflow may leave you with unsettled employees, real time issues, and loopholes in security that easily exposes your system to malware and cyber attacks. With technology, you have to transition slowly and carefully, realize the implications of each decision, the risks, and how to deal with potential downtimes.

If you are transitioning your online analytics on an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution, you should realize the risks and implications it brings. For instance, the IaaS application may compute social media consumer data that may not be relevant, but have a certain degree of effect on the analytics. To sum it up, focus on evolving your workflow with technology and analyze your current position every two to three months to make sure that you are headed in the right direction.

Keep Security and Privacy Paramount

Remember what recently happened with  Sony Entertainment ? Well, it was not the first attack on Sony, as the PlayStation subsidiary has dealt with heavy consumer data leaks and lawsuits in the past. The fact is that as technologies are evolving, so are the security threats. You may believe that you have completely safe and security features for your data but you are always as vulnerable to malware or cyber threat as the next business. With increasing consumer data, you not only have to worry about your corporate and confidential data, but also potential privacy and security violations.

The best thing to do in terms of security is to stay proactive and up to date with the latest protection technology. Always keep security consistent in all aspects of your workflow, including enterprise solutions, online presence, cloud data storage, and physical data storage. Use Business Disaster Recovery (BDR) solutions that can help encrypt your data, set multiple replications on cloud and physical servers, and grant different levels of accessibility to different employees. Also make sure that you always install the latest updates for your technologies and systems whenever they are available. As it is, outdated systems, apps, or plugins may make your database vulnerable to potential threats.

Ongoing Feedback

Feedback from the board or your management staff is always important to ensure that you deal with any potential issues proactively. Encourage discussions and critical thinking in your organization when it comes to data driven decisions. Proactive and regular feedback from people who use and deal with data deriving technology can help you ensure that you are on the right path.

A data driven culture is only possible when your organization is engaged in the vision. At the same time, you have to make sure that you keep a balance between technology and employees. As important as technology is, a productive and motivated staff is what makes your business sustainable.

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