Today's world is highly data-driven -- regardless of the industry, information comes from a variety of sources and due to the amount of data involved, organizations must ensure they're handling it properly and without error. With the time it takes to handle data manually, organizations should consider investing in data automation tools this year.
Automating data involves its collection, processing and storage, as well as other matters. When you think of the sheer number of devices that gather information, coupled with how a business can utilize that data to improve business processes, automation is the most sensible option in 2020. Here are six reasons why.
1. CEOs agree that 2020 is the year to unlock the true power of data
If business and IT leaders wait too long and don't prioritize data automation this year, they could ultimately fall behind competitors and struggle to catch up later. Organizations don't want to fall behind the curve as other entities in the sector surge ahead due to automated data ingestion or extraction efforts.
CRN recently asked nearly 80 CEOs to respond to five questions about their data outlook this year. Several respondents indicated that 2020 is the year of harnessing its full potential as a genuine possibility.
Robert Keblusek, CTO of Sentinel Technologies, said, "the data opportunity in 2020 -- to provide next-level services and drive stickiness with customers in every vertical -- is immense, particularly as businesses are having a difficult time making sense of data complexity." He went on to say how automated technologies like AI and machine learning could help secure and leverage the data that will ultimately benefit customers.
He and other C-suite executives believe automation and data are coming together to assist businesses in crucial ways including to save costs and boost overall productivity. As such, now is the right time to identify how they can reap the rewards by pursuing automation. But first, make sure to perform thorough research and evaluate the implementation possibilities.
2. Data automation could enhance a business leader's capabilities
C-suite executives and IT leaders have perpetually busy schedules and there are analysts who believe automation could relieve them of some of their duties. They would essentially have more time to devote to necessities that even the smartest machines can't do, including boosting team member morale by providing inspiration and influential examples of leadership.
With the proper data automation technology, they can apply visionary approaches and make smarter, more confident decisions without so many of the emotions and office politics that may pose challenges now.
If organizations are considering bringing more balance to workloads with assistance from technology, they should identify the tasks that take up the most time. For example, many companies are having employees use automated data entry tools for enhanced efficiency and correctness.
3. The hyperautomation trend is one to watch this year
What makes some technologies promising is that they offer compatibility to help users get more done than ever before. Take hyperautomation, which is a trend that involves combining machine learning, packaged software and automation options that work together.
It was included in Gartner's top 10 strategy technology trends in 2020, which isn't surprising considering it's able to replicate human involvement in some tasks, thus saving employees time and opening up their schedules to allow for more fulfilling work. Gartner mentioned RPA as one example, but clarified that the trend does not end there.
For example, consider an automated data ingestion offering that simplifies compiling your information for analysis. If that tool uses hyperautomation, your data science experts can thrive in their work because they will spend more time showcasing their strengths rather than using up precious minutes on duties that a data automation tool could tackle on its own.
4. Data automation can reduce mistakes and manual errors
Even the most careful people aren't perfect while getting things done. Completing manual duties like data entry can be a monotonous and error-prone task, but with automation, along with careful process management, an organization can ensure there are no costly mistakes. From an executive perspective, accurate data can boost overall confidence and inform business leaders of what to do to keep the enterprise strong. In a 2019 survey from Netwrix, 54% of IT professionals said they plan to automate manual tasks in 2020.
Consider asking your employees to provide input about which tasks are the most difficult for them to do because of the high potential for error. Then, begin to identify automated data entry tools or similar products that have the potential to significantly reduce the chance for error. Remember that reaping the full extent of the rewards from such a technology investment will likely take time and it may require tweaks along the way. Collecting metrics from the start and periodically evaluating them can help optimize how a company utilizes automation.
5. Staying compliant becomes more straightforward with data automation
Legislation like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) means companies must abide by rules regarding data extraction, storage and use that did not exist before. Both give consumers more control over how entities use their data and they also afford consumers the right to request that parties delete their information in certain instances.
Companies that do not comply with these regulations and others that may be in the pipeline not only risk substantial fines depending on the nature and severity of an identified issue, but also damage to the company's reputation. The public may perceive that the company doesn't care about compliance or has not given serious thought into how it fits into a business model.
Many business leaders may rightfully conclude it's more challenging than ever to meet the requirements of handling consumer information in today's world. However, data automation products can make the task easier. It means that businesses can abide by the legislation without expanding the sizes of their teams.
For example, a tool designed to automate data tasks associated with compliance could scan databases to determine where compliance shortcomings exist. If a customer asks that a company remove any content related to them, the automation tool could effectively find all the necessary information. This virtually eliminates the possibility that someone might overlook one or more records.
Automation can also help create and enforce better data compliance measures. For example, if a company needs to come up with a better process, adding automation can illuminate the gaps to address. Similarly, many tools have rule-based features and once you establish a suitable compliance process, those products aid in maintaining consistency.
6. Data helps solve problems and automation makes collection easier
Data can be a helpful tool to identify and mitigate problems that arise. However, if business leaders don't have an adequate way to process it, they may miss out on valuable insights as large quantities of data are not utilized. When businesses use automation to collect the data and analyze it later, it's easier to determine how to apply the findings and improve the overall strategy.
Perhaps an organization is aware a problem exists, but its root cause remains shrouded in mystery. By relying on automated data ingestion, it could quickly gather information from a variety of sources, then scrutinize it to finally get to the heart of the matter. Automation gives you more time to see what the collected material indicates, and then you can the people's problem-solving abilities to make progress.