Business Analytics: How To Build a Single Source of Truth

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    If you are interested in Business Intelligence (BI), you’ve likely heard people discuss having a “single source of truth.” Now is your chance to learn everything about this BI concept and how to build a source of truth that serves your business interests.

    To create a successful product, you need the collaboration of several teams within your organization. Everyone in this team will likely strive for the same goals and objectives. So, it makes sense they have a central (trustworthy) source for data. This source is what we refer to as a single source of truth.

    In businesses, a single source of truth is a centralized and easily available collection of information everyone agrees is the most accurate and up-to-date. This procedure guarantees that the team makes business-critical choices based on consistent information.

    This article will define the concept of a Single Source of Truth and how you could develop your Single Source of Truth (“SSOT” for short).

    What is a Single Source of Truth (SSOT)?

    Companies collect a lot of data because it’s now easier than ever before. Every software or professional app we use allows us to extract data. But connecting that data to transform it into insights is challenging.

    A Single Source of Truth (SSOT) aggregates data from different sources and gathers it in a single place. This is essential in creating a good business intelligence strategy. Without an SSOT, you can’t trust your data enough to turn it into insights.

    A single source of truth is not a tool or a strategy, it’s a concept, and it’s highly used in data analytics and business strategy planning. Though it’s not a tool nor a strategy, the right tool, and a good business intelligence strategy are needed to build a single source of truth.

    To implement an SSOT, an organization must offer relevant staff a centralized repository for the desired data points. Data-driven decision-making has elevated the importance of data collection and analysis to never-before-seen levels.

    Consider the following scenario. Social media metrics may present one picture of a company’s target demographics, but online questionnaires or vendor feedback may paint another picture. How will company executives determine which data points to use in such a circumstance?

    By establishing an SSOT, this problem is resolved. Rather than discussing which of several competing data sources should be utilized to make business decisions, everyone may rely on a single, centralized source for all their data requirements. It makes data accessible to everyone throughout the enterprise.

    Business advantages of an SSOT

    A powerful data and business intelligence infrastructure built on an SSOT can accomplish the following:

    Better organizational performance

    Integrating financial, customer, marketing, sales, and information technology data can help an organization determine the contribution of different business units to the broader objective. This enables management to monitor progress toward objectives and forecast future development and trends based on previous data.

    SSOT implementation also helps reduce the time spent identifying which record is correct. This helps improve the business’s data analytics capabilities by improving it in every iteration.

    Better data quality

    Without an SSOT, several teams may monitor the same data without being aware of it. SSOT eliminates the possibility of people accidentally duplicating data, allowing for more effective storage resource use while still guaranteeing all parties have access to this information.
    Additionally, SSOT helps prevent teams from reaching inconsistent results when one dataset is more current or full. Thus, it enhances data, data integrity, and data accuracy via the complete removal of data silos and the widespread use of a data warehouse model (which, in turn, increases data transparency).

    Better data security

    Collecting data in a central area eliminates decision-making blind spots. You could use role-based and permission-based access controls to restrict access to sensitive information to those who need it because of their responsibilities. 

    For instance, although a human resources expert should access workers’ Social Security numbers and other personally identifying information, everyone else should not. In this situation, using SSOT ensures data security. Additionally, role-based permissions assist your firm in adhering to data protection rules (so the two work well hand-in-hand).

    How to build a single source of truth

    Now that you know what a single source of truth is, here’s how to build one in your business.

    Step 1. Devise a strategy

    First, you need to know why you and your organization need an SSOT. As part of this step, you’ll need to define your data strategy.

    The law will guide you (especially if you need to adhere to GDPR, CCPA, or HIPAA, for example), but you will also have to create your own rules and define the access to data by role, department, seniority, etc.

    You will also need to choose what data you want to collect. This is an important phase because the quality of your BI insights depends on the quality of the data you collect.

    It’s equally important to define who can manipulate the data and how (like applying levels of security for certain datasets, for example).

    Any changes to data organization and accessibility regulations may inadvertently cause an organization’s compliance standards to be violated or become invalid. That is not something you’d want, so prepare for it. Make certain that you are compliant with all legislation and industry best practices when setting up your SSOT internal procedures.

    Step 2. Use the right tool: an end-to-end BI platform like ClicData

    After you develop the right strategy for your SSOT, you will need to pick the right business intelligence tool and platform to host your plans. You will have to:

    Connect your data

    Your data may currently be all over the place — spreadsheets, business applications, PC, other servers, etc. With the use of a data and business intelligence platform like ClicData, you can bring it all together and ensure that your team operates from a single source of truth. ClicData’s over 250 integrations enable it to retrieve data from any system for reporting. Additionally, it makes sure that there will be no more conflicting versions, out-of-date data, or misplaced spreadsheets — simply a single source of truth for everyone.

    Store your data in a data warehouse

    Utilize ClicData’s data warehouse tools to consolidate data gathering and storage. Establish connections across different data types and systems to examine, analyze, and report on all of your data.

    ClicData even allows you to connect external software such as R and SPSS for advanced data analysis.

    Transform and manage your data

    After connecting ClicData to your data sources, you can begin transforming the data into valuable information. ClicData has a robust data analytics warehouse that enables you to enhance, cleanse, standardize, and manage numerous data tables.

    With ClicData’s tools, you can:

    • Create a computed column that does not exist in your source data that the system will renew each time your data is refreshed.
    • Create a group if you want data to be categorized in a certain manner. This data will be renewed and available for usage in your dashboards at all times.

    How ClicData can help you, concretely.

    A single source of truth approach to data enables businesses to build a consistent language for identifying barriers to business success and tracking progress toward resolving them.

    ClicData has allowed thousands of customers around the world to use robust BI tools to create and manage a single source of truth for their organization. Thanks to our complete business intelligence platform solution, they’re able to compete and shine among their partners.

    Watch this video to see how Sharp bedrooms utilized ClicData, and its intelligent data resources to help fulfill their SSOT needs. As Gary Brandon from Sharps Bedrooms explains:

    “ClicData has provided us with a solution that not only extracts and combines the data from various sources, but it allows us to automatically distribute our daily and weekly reports without any interaction. So now we know that the 9 AM report is accurate as of 9 AM.”

    Gary Brandon | Systems Project Manager at Sharp Bedrooms

    Want to try it for yourself and level up your SSOT game? Try ClicData here.