Fill the gaps
Spending time smoothing out your metadata, data models and cleaning up your dictionaries makes it easier to find the data you’re looking for. And once you start mapping out and analysing your data, you’ll likely uncover quality issues which will need to be ironed out. Alternatively, you may notice the data you wish was there, isn’t.
Which means it’s time to start filling in the gaps. To work out what you should be measuring that you’re not, and to create new value-add data.
Build a culture
Now you’re starting to build a good data culture. And while data may play a large part, in the end it is your people who will ultimately make the difference. At Xero we have created data champions who ensure our customers’ data is always protected, that it is well understood, documented and that data governance is optimal and in place.
We have created data champions who ensure our customers’ data is always protected, that it is well understood, documented and that data governance is optimal and in place.
Read more: Analytics now a boardroom conversation
And then after you’ve done all the basic but important grunt work, you automate everything you can. At Xero we found concentrating on creating a beautiful, clean data model, establishing master data, and metadata to help guide the way has helped us automate, and to grow, scale and integrate while maintaining our nimble nature.
Now the fundamentals are in place, we can develop insights which help small businesses and their advisors, thrive. It’s those insights that will also enable us to help small business improve their productivity. We’re now using our data to build in automation to make our customer onboarding process smoother, to reduce churn and the cost of acquisition. By being able to personalise our messaging we will be able to increase the Xero love even further and continue to help small businesses work smarter, not harder.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? But managing your data is a lot like exercise. You know it’s good for you, but other things often take priority, and you need to be disciplined everyday and understand the goal you are reaching for. When you start, it can be painful at first. But then you start reaping the benefits, you feel great, and the business hums.
You’re no longer spending time in conversations where you’re asking where the data is? Is it the right version? Is it high quality? How is it related to other business information? Only then can you begin to maximise the use of your data knowing it’s robust.
The strategies, while not effortless, are simple and they will help you automate so you can achieve scale without seeing your costs soar.
Guido Stark is data achitect at Xero. This is an excerpt from his presentation at the 2016 SUNZ in Wellington.
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