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Data utilization and its five phases – where are you at?



Would you like to rate your data utilization maturity? Enfo’s Business Development Manager Jarkko Jormanainen has suggestions on how to become data-driven by focusing on your data utilization.







I have carried out several data utilization workshops with some of our customers. All these companies are involved in B2B product or service businesses and have different business operations and cultures. The common finding was that all these excellent companies utilize data mainly within the same business process phase where it’s gathered. Sales uses sales data, production uses production related data. Usually only pipeline information is used for production planning purposes.

All these companies produced a lot of valuable data e.g. from and with their ecosystem (subcontractors, partners, suppliers), but utilized it only in one-way relationship and for a single purpose. E.g. pipeline information was not used to help subcontractors and suppliers to manage their own pipeline and ensure accuracy in deliveries.

Companies producing physical products received detailed material, quality control and other information from their suppliers, but stored that data to the purchasing archives. We found out that their own customers would value the availability of complete component traceability records of their products in order to manage and mitigate e.g. component batch related problems.

Does this sound familiar? I bet it does.

Know what you have

Our customers were able to identify how they underutilized all available data and how they could provide more value to their customers by improving this.

When we discussed why they had not even thought about utilizing existing data, the common answer was: “We did not know we have this data within our company”.

This a key realization. If you do not know what you have, you cannot utilize it. Another practical finding was that there is no way to carry out the necessary development all at once, but step by step, improving as you go. It’s also important to prioritize the tasks based on business priorities.

Know what your business ecosystem needs

A key priority when transforming a company into data-driven one is to include your business ecosystem into it. You should know what kind of data your customers would value, and what kind of data is available from your partners. You may find out ways to gain a competitive edge by providing data to your customers.

My own gut feeling is that this would be very valuable for process industry, but also for product industry, take the component traceability issue as an example. If you can tie your customers to your company with your seamless data, how likely are they to replace you?

The evolution of data utilization

We at Enfo have created a five-step data utilization maturity ladder:





These steps describe typical data utilization maturity. You can use these steps to identify where are you now and what features you need to become truly data-driven. Enfo’s Magnus Hagdahl has discussed these in more detail his article about how to become a data-driven organization.

A key to success is to know what data you have. You need to have your data managed. For this purpose, you need to have data governance practices in place.

In an earlier article, I wrote briefly about how to improve your data utilization.

My fellow colleague Magnus Hagdahl has written about Dirty Data and continuous improvement. Please read through these articles to learn how to improve your data utilization.

The evolution of data utilization is a never-ending journey. The faster you start, the sooner you gain results.


Jarkko Jormanainen works as a business development manager at Enfo
+358 50 327 6193