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You Have a Data Problem

Digital transformation is a journey and data is your compass. Besides steering your digital efforts, data also helps you dodge the detours and navigate smoothly through business processes and decisions. Despite this, we continue to hear businesses say, “our data is bad,” or worse, “our data is bad and no one is fixing it.” A recent Forrester survey found that 66% of B2B companies struggle to provide an effective e-commerce experience due to poor data and 89% pointed to ineffective data management as the culprit. It’s clear this is a widespread challenge across the B2B space and overlooking it will only lead to mounting costs and missed opportunities. 

For the sake of your business’s long-term success, it’s time to address your data problem. If you’re still unconvinced, we’ll dive deeper into the benefits of prioritizing your data. After we’ve won you over, we’ll discuss common obstacles to better data management, share practical next steps to cleaning up your data, as well as expert insight into building reliable information architecture. 

Why Do I Need to Fix My Data Problem?


When your data problems feel out of control, it’s difficult to imagine the impact high-quality data can have on your business. It might even seem unnecessary if you’ve made it this far without it. Think again. You may not realize you’re sitting on a hidden data crisis, but if you look closely you’ll find poor data at the root of your business challenges. If you’re not operating with the mindset that data has become the core currency that drives business success, you’re hindering your own growth. 

Collecting and analyzing data enables businesses to make better-informed, data-driven decisions by providing valuable insights and pinpointing trends. With quality data on your side, your organization has the benefit of improved decision making that produces meaningful results. 

By identifying bottlenecks and areas of improvement, data analytics can increase efficiency and productivity within your organization. Without dependable data, how do you know if your business operations are optimized and delivering maximum value? 

Data can guide you throughout a project, uncovering hidden patterns and discovering potential opportunities and risks. As you plan for your project, data can help develop your strategy and correct your course while the project is in progress. After it’s executed, data allows you to evaluate the success of your project and refine your approach for future endeavors. 

B2B customers’ expectations are growing, and analyzing customer data can help you tailor your products and services to provide an improved experience. To enhance their customer experience, organizations are turning to generative AI and personalization at scale. What do these tools rely on for success? High quality data.  

How Did My Data Get Here?


The most prevalent issue we’ve witnessed with data is lack of ownership. No one owns it and no one wants to own it. Further complicating things, collecting data is often a hurdle in itself, leading to organizations mistaking implementation with success. This results in no follow-up plan or long-term strategy to do anything with the data. 

That’s not to say these organizations have no one strategically using data. Roles like Product Managers, Customer Experience Designers, or Customer Service Leaders may have a pulse on data, but a unifying data strategy for the organization is often missing. 

While ownership is a big piece of the data puzzle, high-quality data also requires focus, attention, and resources. Projects that can deliver quick wins can be more appealing than investing in the lengthy process of restructuring and centralizing data, where the benefits may come a few months down the road. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why organizations choose to prioritize projects that can provide immediate, tangible results. 

How Do I Fix My Data?


The first step to high-quality data is assessing what you already have to gain a clear understanding of where you stand. If you discover a mountain of data waiting for you, we recommend starting with a smaller slice. Tackling your entire product catalog is a heavy lift, but focusing on a low-traffic category can be much more manageable. If this approach still feels overwhelming, our experts can streamline your data complexities and guide you toward a data strategy designed for long-term success. 

This type of work, the strategic management and structuring of data, should fall under the responsibility of an information architect. Despite the value this type of role offers, a surprising number of B2B organizations do not have one. Instead, companies often pass off this workload to other roles, rather than hiring a dedicated information architect. 

Information architects specialize in:

  • Data structure
  • Metadata
  • Normalization
  • Relationships
  • Taxonomies
  • Ontologies

As you confront your data problem, consider how your data can remain dependable even during times of change. Imagine having a set of data structures and formats that grow with your business — through mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, as well as shifting priorities and goals. Approaching your data with this type of long-term mindset will help bring real value now and into the future. 

How Do the Experts Do It?


At TMG, we find that information architecture workshops are helpful for forming a comprehensive data strategy. In this exercise, stakeholders come together to voice their thoughts on product catalogs, personas, and data, ensuring everyone is aligned on opportunities and gaps. 

As part of our process, we ensure there is clear data ownership and the responsible team has the means to manage data successfully. We routinely check that high-quality data continues to flow in, is structured correctly, integrated into the appropriate departments, and easily accessible for stronger data-driven decision making. 

To gain valuable input, we also conduct direct user research to stress test information and mental models, a step many organizations often overlook. Additionally, we aim to refine our client’s information architecture with continuous discovery. Through smart experimentation, information architecture can adapt to meet changing vendor requirements, user needs, and business goals.

Stop sweeping your data strategy under the rug. It’s time to give your business the data it needs for sustainable success. Take incremental steps and with time you’ll have reliable data that drives your customer experience, productivity, decision making, and project outcomes in the right direction. Interested in jumpstarting your data strategy? Consider meeting with one of our data experts for tailored guidance on aligning your data strategy with your business needs, or learn how we can lead an information architecture workshop for your stakeholders. 

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Cameron Beltran
Cameron Beltran
June 13, 20246 minute read
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