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How to Harness the Power of External Data?

How to Harness the Power of External Data?

The world is changing faster than ever before. The 4th Industrial Revolution has led to the emergence of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Big Data analytics.

Along with these changes comes the need for new skillsets. Data Scientists need to be able to find patterns in data sets and present them in a manner that drives actionable insights. 

That being said, data is a powerful and valuable asset. When used correctly, it can help boost your sales, your social media presence and even help with improving customer service. The more data you have, the more opportunities there are for analyses that can lead to new insights. 

For example, suppose one company knows that its customers are interested in the latest news on politics, while another doesn't know. In that case, the first company has an advantage and can target messages to them.

However, most people do not know how to harness this power of external data. Furthermore, what if your data isn't accessible? Information is locked within a system or database in data silos, making it difficult or impossible to retrieve the information. 

Even worse, many of these silos are proprietary systems with limited functionality, making it hard for companies to share data internally without doing a lot of work. 

The best way to avoid this problem is by implementing an enterprise-wide approach that enables users across the organization to leverage external data sources with ease. Read on for tips on how you can harness the power of external data!

What Are Data Silos?

Data silos are created when data is trapped within a system or database. That means the data is not accessible and is very limited in functionality. 

This can be especially problematic for companies who want to leverage external data sources, including social media posts to customer reviews on various websites.

There are many reasons that data gets trapped in these silos. One of the most common reasons is that it takes a lot of time and effort to extract raw data from one system and then bring it into another when you need to combine two datasets for analysis. 

It's also possible that an organization has selective access policies and doesn't allow users across the organization to leverage external data sources without doing a lot of work.

Why Are Data Silos A Problem?

Data silos are created when data is trapped within a system or database, making it difficult or impossible to access. Data silos can lead to inefficiencies and limit your ability to make decisions. 

Once the data is trapped in the silo, it is hard for people to access it. With limited access, multiple departments may end up working on the same thing without realizing it (or making adjustments).

Perhaps you've heard of the term "data fatigue." 

This is where people spend so much time constantly analyzing data that they lose interest in what they're doing. It would be best to avoid this by having easy-to-access external data sources.

It's also worth mentioning that proprietary systems can be limiting if your company doesn't own them. That's because you'll need to invest heavily in updating these systems, which means spending money out of your budget without any assurance that they will work as required.

How to Harness the Power of External Data

Identify the data you need to access

The first step is to identify the data your company needs. This will help you define how you'll use the external data and what it will be used for. 

For example, if your company needs to gather information about its competitors, then tracking their social media feeds would be an excellent way to find out what they're up to.

Map out your system

Map out all of the systems where data is stored and identify which ones are accessible through APIs or other tools that can give you access to outside data sources. 

It might seem like a lot of work at first, but documenting these systems will help you identify gaps in your system and know where external data can come in handy!

Design an API economy

Once you know which systems have access and which ones don't, it's time to design an API economy across those systems. This means integrating all of them so that each one can access external data sources. 

For example, if your CRM system can't pull in external email addresses, integrate with a marketing automation tool. This way, no matter who is working with the CRM or how they want to use it (to send emails or not), they can still track those external email addresses. 

Once those two systems are integrated, everyone using either tool will take advantage of both sets of information.

Choose the right tool for your company

Next, make sure you've chosen the right tool for harnessing the external data. There are many different types of tools out there, so it's important to make sure you choose one that will work for your needs.

If you want to take advantage of social media, for example, you might want to go with an enterprise-wide tool that has social media integration. The same goes if you want analytics or marketing automation.

It's also important that your company is willing to share data across departments. If possible, try not to create silos because they can hold back innovation and cause other issues in the future.

Get Your Data Out of Silos

One way to deal with data silos is by establishing an approach throughout the company. This will give people in the whole company access to external data sources.

There are many ways you can do this. One way is by setting up a team of individuals who oversee and ensure that the company's data is appropriately managed. They can then be in charge of setting up external data sources for the company to share internally, which means that you won't be limited to only using your proprietary systems.

Another option is centralizing all your company's data and making it accessible in the organization through a centralized system. This would make it possible for people who need access to any information to obtain it without going through a lot of effort or getting approval from someone else first.

The last method is by incorporating an enterprise-long approach that leverages analytics and machine learning capabilities. These tools help companies identify patterns in their customers' behavior and predict future behavior, improving customer service lead quality and increase revenue potential.

Final Thoughts on Harnessing External Data

Gaining value from external data requires an innovative combination of issue solving, organizational competency, and laser-focused execution. A good strategy is starting with a small team focused on leveraging external data to address a well-defined problem. 

The next step is building on that success to generate momentum for extending external-data activities across the business and choosing the right tools. 

Without knowing what data your company needs to harness and how to do it, your business will keep losing the potential revenue from external data. So, start today, and witness how harnessing external data can benefit your company.

How to Harness the Power of External Data?