When planning for an IT future, one must ask what specific technologies combine to make data a critical organizational asset. The answer varies from industry to industry and application to application, but one common thread is that the more data a company has, the more it can be used to support the business. To some, data may be considered an unnecessary luxury; to others, data is a mandatory part of the business. Regardless of why data is considered a strategic asset, however, it’s a necessity if the enterprise wants to achieve and sustain greatness.
Before technology planners and managers can answer this question, they must consider how data flows throughout the enterprise. Data is an ever-changing, interconnected mass of numbers, records, and information that describes every activity in the business. Enterprises need to understand which technologies combine to make data a critical organizational asset so that they can better exploit the mass of data that informs their daily operations. Without data, companies would face significant difficulties in conducting business activities-both in terms of process and application design.
Processes are the activities that organizations carry out in order to put their pieces of the puzzle together. Every piece of data, no matter how insignificant or innocuous it may seem, is crucial to the organization because it represents processes in the business. In a complex organization, each piece counts as a potentially valuable piece when it’s put together with the rest of the data. For instance, a business might require the services of a payroll processor in order to properly calculate employee salaries; it might require a data warehouse to store and track customer information in order to effectively communicate with affiliates; and it might even require a computer network to allow for fast and accurate sharing of data among different parts of the company.
Application design is another important area where IT experts and managers spend a lot of time debating which technologies combine to make data a critical organizational asset. The key to good application design is to carefully balance technology, operational needs, and business goals. A web-based application might meet some organizational needs; however, it might not be able to fulfill other objectives that could result from using it. Likewise, an e-commerce application might satisfy some basic functional requirements; however, it might not have any application logic that contributes to the business’s growth or success. To get a clear idea of which technologies combine to make data a critical organizational asset, managers and IT professionals need to consider all of the possibilities in the current business environment.
Some analysts believe that there is a minimal correlation between technology and organizational success. Instead, many organizations focus more on the business goals that they wish to achieve, which may not be aligned with an IT department’s best practices. Organizations also tend to evaluate technology based on its ability to meet anticipated user demand, rather than the capacity of IT infrastructure. Although users’ demands drive much of the demand analysis, IT managers should still work to build IT infrastructure that is flexible enough to meet future needs, even when those needs are unrelated to current ones.
All in all, although IT professionals may disagree about which technologies combine to make data a critical organizational asset, no one can deny that this asset is extremely important. Today’s information age requires businesses to rapidly analyze and use large amounts of data in order to stay ahead of competitors and achieve their goals. Organizations that don’t have the resources to analyze and use this information quickly and effectively will likely fail to achieve their goals, and eventually lose business. With so much riding on the ability of IT to analyze and use large amounts of data, it is clearly important for every organization to have a solid information security strategy and a comprehensive data analytics plan in place.