Fast, streamlined access to relevant data is key to successful business outcomes. However, many organizations struggle to share data—internally between teams and externally with partners, vendors, and customers. Data collaboration has the power to improve the quality of analytics programs and even create new product offerings. This article explores why a collaborative approach to data is so beneficial and how today’s organizations can successfully implement data collaboration.
What Is Data Collaboration?
Data collaboration is the process of gathering and sharing data from various sources. This process typically involves combining data sets from internal teams such as sales, marketing, and customer service and empowering domain experts to contribute their unique perspectives to inform insights. Data collaboration also takes the form of data-sharing partnerships or supplementing existing data with third-party data sets.
Benefits of a Collaborative Approach to Data
When data is shared, value is created. A collaborative approach to data can benefit organizations in several ways. Here are the top three:
Identify all relevant data
According to research by Seagate and International Data Corporation, 68% of enterprise data is never used. One of the primary barriers to accessing the value of data is that teams often aren’t sure what data is available or relevant to solving business problems. Data collaboration resolves this issue by bringing those closest to the data together to identify the data sources best suited to meet business objectives, recognizing the critical role that domain-level experts play.
Find profitable synergies
According to Gartner, organizations that share data externally with partners generate three times more measurable economic benefits than their counterparts that do not. Forming data-sharing partnerships between organizations that own mutually beneficial data sets can strengthen the strategic position of both businesses, creating a valuable data synergy that would be impossible to achieve when working independently. Additionally, organizations that collect proprietary data can monetize this data, creating new product offerings or supplementing existing offerings with value-added data components.
Accelerate time to insight
By nature, data collaboration involves people working together. When teams bring together relevant knowledge and perspectives, they can arrive at insights faster. This benefit is especially valuable with opportunities that have expiration dates. Speed matters when it comes to real-time insights and time-sensitive issues.
Data Collaboration Best Practices
Successful data collaboration requires an intentional approach driven by technologies that support data security and governance. A data collaboration framework built around best practices ensures that organizations maximize benefits while minimizing risk.
Set clear goals that are tied to KPIs
Data collaboration efforts, like any other business initiative, require clearly defined goals that are closely tied to KPIs. Beginning with the end in mind makes it easier to determine who needs to be involved and how, what data sources should be used, and what a successful result looks like.
Create data-centered workflows based on easy-to-use tools
Establishing standardized data collaboration workflows will create a cycle where encountering business problems reflexively spurs new data collaboration efforts. Easy-to-use data tools empower team members to work efficiently so that data becomes foundational to the way the business operates.
Collaborate with all stakeholders
Data experts, of course, serve a central role in data collaboration efforts. But domain experts should also be involved. Tapping those closest to the data will help ensure relevancy.
Cater to varying skill levels
Naturally, some team members will be more comfortable using data tools than others. Providing ample opportunities for additional training on data tools will improve adoption rates. Assigning team leads to mentor those with less experience with the data collaboration process will strengthen collaboration efforts.
Build a data collaboration culture
Creating a culture that fosters data collaboration doesn’t happen without intentional leadership. Executives and team leads must demonstrate the value of collaboration and what it looks like in practice.
Common Barriers to Effective Data Collaboration
Data collaboration offers many benefits. But successful implementation can be hampered by an outdated infrastructure or technology that lacks key capabilities.
The valuable data that companies are generating is stored in a variety of locations. For example, finance data is stored in an ERP tool, sales data is locked away in a CRM, and marketing data is spread across a spectrum of SaaS tools. Each silo holds data that’s one piece of the puzzle, so you can’t get a complete picture without collaborating on the data. Without all data available in a single source of truth, true data collaboration is all but impossible.
Inability to safely share data with external sources
Some of the most valuable data is found outside the organization. Sharing data with partners, vendors, and customers can be a complex process vulnerable to risks. Data collaboration requires a platform that enables sharing live, governed data and the ability to provide and access data sets or services from third-party data providers.
High cost of building and maintaining complex data pipelines
The resources required to create and maintain traditional data pipelines can be prohibitively high. Fractured, legacy data processing and storage solutions require significant effort from IT to build and sustain the complex data pipelines required to support data collaboration. For this reason, cloud-based solutions are necessary.
The increased storage and processing requirements needed to take advantage of available data often exceed the capability of traditional infrastructure. To meet these needs, organizations are looking to cloud-based infrastructure that’s scalable to meet the demands of the moment.
Snowflake and Data Sharing
Snowflake enables organizations to seamlessly and securely share data across the entire business ecosystem. Snowflake’s platform virtually eliminates the limitations and costs associated with traditional data ingestion, transformation, and storage. You can avoid the risk and hassle of having to copy and move data and, instead, securely access live, governed, shared data sets and receive automatic updates in real time. Additionally, you can provide customers and partners with secure access to proprietary data, enabling you to deliver increased value and easily collaborate with other departments, business units, partners, or customers.
See Snowflake’s capabilities for yourself. To give it a test drive, sign up for a free trial.