How to avoid wasting money on data analytics

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Castlebridge | AIBF
Pictured above is Managing Director of Castlebridge Daragh O'Brien.

Data is now an essential part of the business process…

Entrepreneurs and leaders invest millions every year on emerging data analytics tools and technologies in the hope they will transform figures into profit.

But data expert Daragh O’Brien says businesses owners hoping to monetise their data must first educate themselves on the fundamentals of its management.

“I’ve been doing this now for over 25 years and I’m seeing history repeat itself,” he told the All-Ireland Business Foundation.

“Organisations will outsource analytics or will spend big money on analytics tools and technologies without actually understanding their data and how to manage it.”

“It’s the equivalent of spending money on lovely pots and pans but not knowing how to cook”.

Daragh is the Founder and Managing Director of Castlebridge, an Irish company fast becoming the go-to authority for pragmatic advice on the business of data.

Recognised internationally for their insights and direct approach, the Castlebridge team help their clients get to the fundamentals of their data-related challenges and build information-enabled organisations.

“What we do is teach people those fundamental skills of managing data,” Daragh explained.

“We encourage our clients to find the answers to the key questions: What is my data? How is it defined? Where am I keeping it? What am I using it for? How good or bad is the quality of that data?”

“We do this because the answers affect the return on investment for everything they do.”

Data enables the links between outcomes, decisions, and interventions to be better observed and understood.

But Daragh explained that data is only useful if it’s of good quality.

A 2017 UCC study found that less than 3% of Irish organisations have data that’s fit for purpose.

Consistently studies have shown that the average company wastes between 10% and 35% of their annual turnover on dealing with the challenges of poor quality data.

“That is because if data is wrong, and you have to go and correct it then you’re paying for it twice,” explained Daragh.

“You can buy in all the data analytics tools you want, you can train your staff using them, but if your underlying data isn’t fit for purpose, and if you don’t know where it is, and if you don’t know what it does or what it means, then you spend a lot of time running wonderful looking, but very pointless reports and spending money on failed initiatives or expensive remediation.”

While organisations often focus on data protection compliance, there is a need for organisations of all sizes to develop competencies in understanding, managing, and getting value from their information assets.

Pictured above is Managing Director of Castlebridge Daragh O’Brien.

“That means helping people learn relevant skills to manage and govern data to achieve their business goals.”

Castlebridge is preparing to unveil a new eLearning resource DataEducation.ie for companies and individuals who want to be able to effectively manage their data and make the necessary changes to improve their bottom line.

After a very successful pilot with a large regulatory body, the company is rolling out one of its brand new online courses this month with a plan to release a new course every month through 2022.

“We offer pragmatic, practical training that is technology-neutral and business-focused. We train you to think differently about data as a business asset,” said Daragh.

“People coming at this from the business world will learn the language and skills that they need to talk to technologists and get a handle on what needs to be done.”

“People coming from a technology perspective can develop an understanding of what all these wonderful tools and widgets mean and how to actually go beyond implementing software to actually delivering bottom-line business value.”

Building on their experience developing online and classroom-based learning syllabuses with clients and partners such as the Law Society of Ireland, the Castlebridge Data Education Framework supports learners in learning these skills using a mix of elearning, instructor supported discussion forums, and live instructor-led training in a range of business-focused data skills, including data protection.

For clients who want to come to Castlebridge for in-house training, the team can either develop custom learning journeys in their learning management system, or they can licence their content for delivery in the clients’ own learning management system.

The first course to be released is a 10 module programme entitled “Fundamentals Of Data Protection Law And Practice”.

Interested customers can either buy the full 10 modules as a single bundle for €875 or if they want to cherry-pick, they can then buy individual units from that course for between €90 and €95.

The exciting release follows news that Castlebridge has achieved Business All-Star Accreditation for the third year in a row.

Reflecting on the achievement, Daragh said: “In an industry that’s immature, there is often a lot of confusion about what quality is from a buyers perspective.”

“Having an independent body evaluate our business on performance, trust and customer-centricity has been invaluable, as it shows our customers there is rigour behind what we do and it gives them trust in our service.”

Castlebridge’s mission is to help people do great things with data, and with their new eLearning environment, the company has taken a giant leap forward.

“Data is an asset that needs to be managed,” Daragh continued.

“That means training your staff to think about data as a strategic asset and what needs to be done to manage and govern it.”

“It’s not about buying new tools or new software, It’s about understanding your data and how to use it.”

To learn more about Castlebridge, visit their All-Star showcase page here.