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Making the data a company has stored more agile should be a top priority. Businesses of all sorts compile and store data. Studying analytics of this data plays an important role in so many different fields these days, and having a wealth of information is often necessary to be an industry leader.

But what good is all of that data if you cannot extract important trends, insights and conclusions from it? That is where data agility comes into play. Data agility is about speed: How quickly can a company comb through its data to find useful information, and at what speed can it turn that information into actionable changes? Just as an agile human is able to be more active than a stationary person, agile data can do more for a company in a shorter amount of time.

Having agile data is extremely valuable for a business, as the data allows the company to gain more from the information it has stored.

Improving data agility
The process of improving the agility of stored information cannot be achieved overnight. A company needs to assess what kind of shape its data is in and potentially make major changes before it can maximize the data’s value, according to Forbes. Deleting duplicate data entries and updating the content to ensure all the information is current are steps that a business can take to improve its agility.

“Having agile data can be extremely valuable for a business.”

Once everything is accurate, the data needs to be organized. It’s complicated enough creating a business strategy based off results gathered from clean data. When the information is misplaced and hard to access, the job becomes even trickier. Data can be identified in a number of ways. Assigning unique identifiers to each separate folder of the data is a good way to organize the information, The Wilder Foundation recommended.

With the technologies for exploring data getting faster, agility is more important than ever, The Data Warehousing Institute explained. By making data easier to study and gain conclusions from, the company can work faster and make more informed conclusions.

Agile data also allows for a company to improve its operational efficiency. By having information that can be translated into immediate results, businesses can spot problems quicker and take care of small issues before they grow into larger ones. An IBM study tracked a large retail bank who had recently improved its data agility. Using their information, they were able to predict and detect the cause of 10 major outages over a four week period. The study found that this resulted in more than $600,000 in savings for the bank, in large part because of their data agility.

Agility leads to better results
The quality of the data is just as important as the speed of the analytics. For a company that invests heavily in compiling and studying analytics, generating results quickly is of major importance. Speed is where data agility makes one of its biggest impacts, Datanami reported. By focusing on fast, accurate data, a business can see current information and make almost instantaneous strategic decisions.

A data mining program that churns out useful information in a short period of time has tremendous value for a business. Agility allows experts to single out the information that a company needs to make real-time decisions.

“Saying that real-time data gives you a competitive advantage is really nothing new,” Tony McManu​s, head lf real-time feeds and platform technology at Bloomberg, said to Markets Media. “What’s much more important is not whether you are using real-time data, but the quality of that data.”

By having more agile and accurate data, executives can make smarter decisions to benefit their company. In a 2013 survey of CEO’s, 49 percent said that improving operational effectiveness was a top priority. Being agile allows that operational effectiveness to happen and gives a business a leg up when it comes time to make tough calls.

Agility helps different pieces of data work together
The more agile data is, the easier it will be to gather information from multiple locations and turn it into actual results for a business. By compiling feedback from both internal and external sources, a company can gain a better understanding of the data. Improved agility will make it easier for the data to work together to develop strong results.

While it may seem like taking in too much data will bog an analytics program down and make all of that info less agile, the opposite actually takes place, assuming the data is current and organized. Leveraging data from difference sources helps a business gain a better understanding of its customers, Wired explained. A company can gain better insight and do more with its analytics by reviewing information from multiple sources. Being agile makes that easier to accomplish.