Editor's note: A version of this post originally appeared on Information Age.

From SMBs to multinationals, every business has to deal with data on a day-to-day basis. In the decade to come, however, two data challenges are looming large when it comes to implementing a data strategy. The first challenge is that, as modern analytics deployments grow, organisations are faced with an ongoing challenge to curate, manage, and govern larger volumes of data. The second big challenge is that data is no longer solely under the purview and restricted use of the small, manageable teams of trained IT professionals. We are now operating in a day and age of pervasive and unbound data management.

Data is everywhere in a business – but individuals across organisations are struggling to find the relevant, trusted and current information they need for effective, confident analysis.

Think of the last time you asked a data-related question. How long did it take to get an answer? Did you give up or move on before you got an answer? Most people will not go out of their way to use data if it’s not readily available, reliable, and easy to work with. The end result is that decisions are made on hunches, not on insights.

You might feel daunted by the challenge but there are some practical strategy changes that you can make to untap the potential of data analytics in your organisation.

Mandatory management

At the heart of a thriving data strategy is good data management principles that keep pace with rising data volumes and demand for ever-faster decision-making.

At its most basic, data management ensures that an organisation’s complete body of data is accurate and consistent, readily available, and adequately secured.

So, how can today’s analytics strategies succeed and scale with modern business demands? First off, organisations need to shift their approach to data management by enhancing visibility and helping employees find trusted data.

Leaving legacy processes behind

Traditional data management processes have lumbered along. They are adequate at best, but they’re no match for today’s real-time demands from employees who want data immediately with no excuses. Legacy processes are no longer agile deployments, fit for purpose or able to evolve with growing needs – so now is the time leave them behind with the turn of the decade.

For today’s analytics strategies to succeed and scale, organisations need to improve visibility and accessibility of their data. This will help employees find data that is trusted and relevant for their analysis, in order for them to derive maximum insights.

Streamline to scale

As organisations deploy analytics at unprecedented scale, business professionals seek an effective strategy to streamline the management of large, mission-critical deployments. When doing this, it’s important to empower IT to develop and maintain a scalable, governed, and self-sufficient data environment in the ever-changing data landscape.

To help give structure to your data management strategy, consider these four areas:

  • Visibility: Increase the visibility of your organisation’s data assets to more efficiently manage your environment.
  • Governance & Trust: Build governance and trust in the data being used to make decisions across the organisation.
  • Discoverability: Boost discoverability so users can quickly and confidently find the right data for their analysis.
  • Scalability: Effectively manage data at scale with repeatable processes to keep data and metadata up to date.

Through a cohesive and tight integration, relevant information and insights should become available for analysing where and when people need it, to support efficient and effective data exploration.

Empowering your workforce

After your data is captured and stored, it moves through preparation, analysis, and is then shared throughout the organisation. Ultimately, the goal here is for governed data curation to provide a stronger foundation for the entire analytical pipeline, helping users to move beyond asking questions of their data to asking questions of their business.

It’s important that people of all skillsets and levels throughout your organisation feel confident in making business decisions with the data. Encouraging shared access, transparency and strong governance immediately inspires confidence in the power of data.

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