Digital transformation can significantly benefit any business. This is true across virtually all industries.
That said, it is possible for digital transformation to yield certain drawbacks. Digital sprawl is one. Luckily, if a business prepares and strategizes accordingly, avoiding digital sprawl can be relatively easy.
This guide will help, covering some of the essential ways your business can guard against problems resulting from uncoordinated digital transformation.
What is Digital Sprawl?
To thoroughly understand how to prevent digital sprawl (which is sometimes also referred to as data sprawl), you must first know what it is.
Again, digital transformation has the potential to significantly empower businesses. However, as businesses begin to make use of various digital tools and services, their digital assets and data can be spread across so many resources that it can be difficult to manage them efficiently.
For example, analyzing various pieces of data and KPIs plays a critical role in the success of any business. You can only make better decisions when you understand how your past decisions did or did not yield intended results. Unfortunately, if your data is spread across numerous applications and databases, accessing and gathering your data for analysis can be prohibitively time-consuming.
That doesn’t need to be the case. There are many ways to avoid digital sprawl. The following are just a few examples to keep in mind:
Use the Right Reporting Tools
Instead of using so many data storage and reporting tools that you’re unable to perform valuable data analysis, use online reporting solutions designed for the specific purpose of keeping your data in one centralized resource. This is a simple but remarkably effective way to guard against data sprawl.
You also don’t have to limit this strategy to reporting tools. Any time you’re deciding to use a new digital or IT tool, look for one that can serve multiple purposes, allowing you to avoid purchasing multiple tools. Naturally, this will also help your business save money.
Performing what essentially amounts to an “audit” of the current state of your business in regard to digital sprawl is worth doing on a fairly regular basis. Every now and then, make a point of carefully assessing the functionality and necessity of your various digital tools and resources. Doing so can help you better determine when a tool and resource isn’t necessary.
Authorize Certain People to Make Digital Decisions
To a reasonable degree, limit the amount of freedom individual employees and departments have to make decisions about the use of new digital tools. While you may want to allow employees and departments to suggest using new tools, authorize only a few key team members to have the final say on these matters. Although permitting employees and departments to have autonomy in certain areas can be wise, in this instance, you need to rein them in somewhat.
Remember, digital sprawl can have a wide range of consequences. That doesn’t mean it has to. Apply these suggestions, and your business is much less likely to suffer from digital and data sprawl.