Is your data a help or a hinderance?


Background information / Scenario

Big data. We all know the term and that we should be doing something with big data so that we don’t get left behind.

If your organisation has recognised this trend and you now have huge amounts of data, what do you do with it?

The point of having data is to use it to gain competitive advantage. This is driven by the ability to make decisions based on factual information, because it gives a consistently better result than decisions based on gut feel.

Effectively using the data can allow your organisation to gain beneficial insights – like areas to improve customer experience, grow market share, develop new markets, identify opportunities for new products, reduce costs and improve productivity.

It also means coming to grips with the cyber world.  A terrifying prospect for many people that sets their pulses racing.


Main issues

There are many common misconceptions around ‘cyber’, including the belief that anything related to the cyber world is the IT Department’s problem and that all related issues can be solved by increasing their budget to acquire more technology.

This is untrue and an attitude that could be detrimental to your organisation.

Numerous studies and thought leadership pieces produced by leading organisations across the globe demonstrate consistent themes result in success and failure.

All agree that success requires the integration of three key areas across the entire organisation:

  • People
  • Processes, and
  • Technology.


The area where organisations fail overwhelmingly – People.

Ironically, this is the area which is consistently recorded as receiving the lowest level of attention and the smallest budget.

It is imperative that a culture of using data to drive decisions is valued across the organisation and espoused by leaders, who lead-by-example.

So now you know that your data is valuable, and you want to use it. The next question to ask is what do you want to achieve?

Take the time to clearly define your objectives. Too often, people make quick assumptions and begin to create solutions before they fully understand the problem.

If your solutions don’t align with your objectives, the decisions you make are unlikely to be useful and may well have a negative effect.

Who do you get to assist you?

You will need a mix of skills – business and industry knowledge in conjunction with specialist cyber-related skills. Noting there are significant skills shortages in cyber-specialisations because this is a relatively new area and it is growing incredibly quickly.


Practical actions / implications

Understand that when you hear the word ‘cyber’ you don’t need to panic.

Cyber risk is operational risk. How do you manage financial risk? Why should your approach be any different?

We are simply using digital tools to manage our organisation and how we manage those tools is exactly the same as how we manage other operational aspects of our organisation.

Ask yourself these key questions about your organisation:

  • How effectively are you using data?
  • Do you know that your data has value?
  • Data is an asset – is it recorded on the balance sheet?
  • How do you protect it?
  • What are your objectives?
  • What is your strategy?
  • Do you have a roadmap to implement your strategy?


You will only be successful if your leaders are leading by example and get the whole organisation on board – this is not something that you can leave to a single department.

It’s easy to say all this and a lot of work to put into practice. The question is, can you afford not to?

Your data has the potential to give your business real competitive advantage.

Are you taking advantage of that, or are you in the group that is being left behind, facing extinction?

The good news is that there are specialists to help you navigate your way.


Author: Philippa Leggat – Director ICTLC Australia
Phone: +61 (03) 9070 9847

ICTLC Australia