Recently I was quoted within Raconteur’s Future of Data & AI 2023 report. It discusses how enabling a seamless flow of data through your organization can help save time, money, and talent. Give it a read below.
As appeared in Raconteur’s Future of Data & AI 2023 report, published on 03/22/2023.
If data is now the lifeblood of any company, it must flow seamlessly and coherently to keep a business healthy and thriving.
From helping with future projections to delivering on C-suite ambitions, good-quality and real-time data creates a solid foundation for decision-making. However, siloed data sets, many of which are often stale and incomplete, will slow down the opportunity for making critical choices fast.
Steve Mulholland, regional vice-president EMEA at Fivetran, believes automated data movement offers one answer. “CEOs and executive business leaders will have a greater guarantee that only the freshest data is being used and that it’s being delivered to the right people at the right time without cumbersome manual processes,” he argues.
This is important because according to Fivetran’s own 2022 research, about eight in 10 organisations admitted to making decisions based on stale data. And inaccurate insights can be costly. Mulholland warns: “Businesses are losing an average of 5% of global annual revenue due to underperforming AI programmes built on bad data.”
Saving time, money and talent
Fivetran sits within the data stack turning raw data into usable insights so leaders have confidence in the decision-making. One company using its solution generated more than 300,000 new leads and saved 200 hours per month. Another tackled its disparate data silos, which were forcing teams to manually deduplicate and refresh data multiple times a day. The technology reduced data-refresh times dramatically, from 53 minutes to just six.
Mulholland points out that maintaining data pipelines manually is time consuming: “It has a knock-on effect throughout the organisation. Data scientists are spending as much as three-quarters of their time preparing data, rather than building AI models.” And, he emphasises, this critical resource issue cannot be tackled by hiring given the current skills and talent shortage. Mulholland cites Fivetran research showing 87% of businesses acknowledge data scientists within their organisations are not being used to their full potential. “The immediate solution must be to outsource and automate mundane tasks,” he adds.
A single source of truth
Establishing a “single source of truth” through data should now be top of the C-suite agenda, argues Mulholland. “It holds the key to operational efficiency, customer success, employee satisfaction and business growth” and allows users across the business to “self-serve and innovate on behalf of the end customer.” Building trust is also key, and this means ensuring what is fed into the algorithms for automation is clean data checked for accuracy and quality.
Mulholland highlights how concerns about underperforming AI models are usually due to the use of inaccurate or low-quality data. Robust, automated data flows can underpin these models to instil greater confidence in AI-driven decision making across the entire business.
Many leaders though may still be sceptical about the cost and time involved, but Mulholland notes that Fivetran is ‘plug and play’, with more than 300 pre-built data connectors giving immediate solutions for resource-intensive tasks. What once took internal teams months to build is now available in minutes, without costly maintenance charges and with enhanced security controls and in-built compliance for data legislation. “Businesses will only reap the rewards from their AI capabilities when internal operations are geared towards making the most of data and making data accessible,” says Mulholland
This, he explains, is achieved by centralising in the cloud. “Decision makers can examine the total business impact of product and marketing changes, seeing trends that might not be obvious from simply looking at profit and loss statements.”
“Fivetran’s business ethos is to make access to data as simple and reliable as electricity; it’s like flicking a switch on innovation,” he adds.