Data problems feel scary? These steps turn tricks into treats. 

Even if you think everything’s fine, data problems can lurk in dark corners. Carve out some time this Halloween to stoke the spirit of data maturity. Don’t be like a skeleton—no guts; data problems can be masked for only so long. And the cost to your strategy, efficiency, and growth can suck the life from your business.

You’re not in this alone. Most businesses are haunted by data trouble at one point—or at several points along the way. Consider us your guide from data darkness into light. Read on to see what our experts have to say about beginning to overcome these seemingly scary issues.

Send zombie data to its final resting place

Not all data is good data. A lot of what many businesses have on hand is outdated or no longer relevant—especially if you’re operating in maintenance mode, meaning data keeps coming in without ever becoming organized, let alone understood. If you’re constantly reacting rather than taking a proactive approach to data, it’s likely to remain disconnected and lifeless.

Not all plastic jack-o-lanterns full of candy are equally valuable; some of them are full of mints and candy corns. The same is true of data—some of it contains insight, and some of it belongs in the trash next to the candy wrappers.

It’s scary to start a data strategy when you try to collect as much as you can without really realizing what carries value and drives business value. Starting with data strategy is important, but so is iteration. Iterate and constantly challenge what you are collecting, how it’s generated, how it’s cleaned, and how it drives business value to avoid carrying distracting nonsense.

Michael Schwarz, Senior VP of Professional Services at Resultant

Put another way: the house that had the full-sized Snickers last year could be offering circus peanuts this year, and you’ll have to change your route to avoid picking through the third-tier candies on your way to the good stuff.

Break the curse of skeletal data governance

You wouldn’t dress up like a baseball player to haunt an abandoned mansion; that project calls for at least a sheet with eye holes. Similarly, your data needs to be collected and utilized according to clear rules so that you not only have the right data for each purpose but can be sure it has been provided with full knowledge of how it will be used.

It’s a scary scenario when data that was obtained with consent for one purpose is used by an organization for another. It gets even more complicated if that second use is combined with AI work, which will make automated decisions.

Paola Saibene, Principal Consultant at Resultant

Take action right away to ensure you have proper data governance practices in place to prevent unethical, noncompliant data usage. If you don’t, neither will the AI tools you’re leaning on. These tools come with a host of benefits, but they’re only as good as the rules you have in place.

“Mitigating unregulated data usage is easy with simple principles,” Saibene said, ”but remediating it once it has happened takes a lot more work.” So don’t wait to start on this critical data practice.

Leave behind data-breach nightmares for sweet security dreams

Data breaches are more terrifying than a Michael Myers, Chucky, and Freddy Krueger megavillain. And the real horror begins when you add up the costs—in terms of finances, trust, and downtime—of a data breach.

Even though awareness has grown and people have become more savvy, phishing, data leaks, and compromised email accounts remain extremely common—and expensive. Fraudsters just keep finding new ways to help themselves to your data.

Which means cybersecurity requires constant vigilance. Protective measures like managed detection and response, managed security awareness training, multi-factor authentication, and vulnerability management are essential for keeping your data safe.

No one wants a data breach or a situation where data gets into the wrong hands. It takes thoughtful encryption, access controls, and training to avoid a scary moment regarding data security.

– Michael Schwarz, Senior VP of Professional Services at Resultant

Break free from data-driven decision paralysis

Feel like data is coming at you like smoke from dry ice? Lost in a haze of possibility? There’s a way out. Start by setting clear business objectives: What do you want your data to do for you? Where do you want your business to go? Questions like these help clarify your starting point, prioritize your objectives, and build a data-driven strategy. Your most effective answers might not be what or where you expect.

Don’t be the poor soul who checks the basement. Consider the next right thing and go from there. And usually the next right thing isn’t action.

Jess Carter, VP of Client Experience and Delivery Operations at Resultant

What is it then? It’s pausing to take stock of where you are and where you want to be.

“Seek to deeply understand the problem,” Jess said. “Evaluate your options—you should always have more than one—and then consider the cost of those decisions alongside the cost of indecision.

“You’ll know what the next right move is. It’s either grabbing a weapon or heading to the nearest exit—not the basement.”

Join forces against haunting siloed data

You can’t bake those spooky black cat cookies if you can’t mix sugar and eggs, and data is the same way: If it continues to live in silos, you don’t get the sweet reward of insight that moves your business forward.

Securely integrating your data is essential for achieving the comprehensive view that enables you to find the valuable insights that help you build your business. It helps you streamline processes, become more efficient, and reach insight faster—more reliably.

It sounds like a big job, and it can be, but starting slowly is infinitely preferable to not starting at all.

Don’t try to boil the ocean. Use metadata-driven automation to streamline the data pipeline development process, and use an agile prototype/iterate approach to define requirements and build minimum viable products.

Michael Tantrum, National Sales Director at Resultant

Any season can be the spooky season if your data is out of control

Are you living in a data Halloween that never ends? Scared to venture into the basement or out into the cold, dark night of problems like data security, faulty data governance, and data-driven decision paralysis? Spoiler: It’s a lot scarier the longer you wait.

Take the first step now. Schedule a no-obligation whiteboarding session with a data expert. You get 30 minutes with a data expert who can lead you safely through the scariest problems.

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