Data agility has emerged as one of the hottest business topics today, with people weighing in on its importance, to everyone from the CIO to the sales team. And what is data agility, exactly? I think one of the best ways to define data agility is to think of it the same way you think of human physical agility. It’s about being able to move and change quickly in order to adapt to what’s going on in your environment. To achieve this ability, you need to maintain a level of fitness that makes fast responses and sudden shifts possible. I believe that’s how it works with data, too.
To achieve data agility, you have to take steps to ensure that your data is in top shape, to support using it in real time to quickly adjust marketing and other business strategies to meet changing customer needs. And just as you can take specific steps to improve your physical fitness and agility, so too can you take steps to improve your data agility. Here’s what I suggest.
Assess your data’s condition. Achieving physical agility can be a challenge for someone who’s never been particularly active, and that’s true of data, too. The first step in undertaking any kind of fitness program is to evaluate your condition to establish a baseline. So how’s your data doing now? Is it sluggish and slow, or quickly available for you to use for decision making? What shape is it in? Is it a mess of duplications? Not updated nearly often enough? Or is it clean and fit and ready to apply to strategic activities? Take an honest look and see where your data could use a workout.
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