In a world where businesses are more reliant on advanced technology than ever before, organizations must implement systems capable of efficiently managing their online database and workflows. Establishing a source of truth transforms your approach to business process automation and interdepartmental communications.
This guide to the source of truth will answer all your key questions on the subject, including but not limited to:
- What is a single source of truth?
- What can a single source of truth achieve for the business?
- Who can benefit from having a source of truth in place?
- How can a single source of truth be implemented?
- Can a no-code application be used within the source of truth infrastructure?
What is a source of truth?
A single source of truth (SSOT) is a business concept that is defined by HubSpot as “collecting data from across the enterprise and aggregating it into a central repository”.
While it is technically a philosophy rather than a system, businesses find that it essentially means establishing the infrastructure to utilize a single online database for company-wide data management. The aim is to structure information models, data schemas, and data elements in one location.
Teams may not need to use the same applications or operations but having access to a communal database courtesy of no-code tools like Knack ultimately aids decision-making in daily operations and long-term business objectives alike. Essentially, it allows you to move away from a business model where data silos are present, thus creating 100% transparency for 100% of the workforce.
A source of truth is particularly useful for organizations and large-scale operations, especially when teams are split across multiple locations. However, the benefits can also be seen by start-ups and SMEs while it simultaneously ensures that the right systems are in place to support the venture as it grows and evolves.
Through a comprehensive and centralized shared data source, organizations can intelligently utilize big data. The source of truth could ultimately extend to cover CRM (customer relationship management), ERP (enterprise resource planning), and CMS (content management system) tools as well as any other facilities that contribute to relevant incoming or outgoing data.
Is data management important for businesses?
Before looking to implement any strategy or system, you’ll naturally want to verify that it is a worthwhile investment of time and money. A quick look at the stats will prove that you need to master this part of operating a business.
- Big data and analytics have a global value of $274bn.
- Data-driven businesses are 19x more likely to become profitable.
- The number of firms using data-driven decisions hit 50% for the first time in 2020.
- There is a 300% improvement in decision-making when companies are data-driven.
- Bad business data is shown to cost businesses over $3tn per year.
The stats on the importance of business data for the sake of productivity and profitability are clear. A source of truth is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to tap into its full potential.
The benefits of a source of truth
Having a single source of truth essentially means that you have one location where data is accurate and full. In other words, it is the true reflection of your company data. There are many reasons to focus on having an online database that provides a source of truth for all teams. Some of the key rewards are detailed below:
Save time and money
The most obvious benefits gained from a source of truth come from saving time and money. Increased visibility of data and workflow automation means that there will no longer be delays while waiting for spreadsheets or information to be sent from colleagues in different departments or even time zones.
Poor communication is shown to cost companies $1.2tn per year and the figure continues to grow thanks to globalization and the growth of remote workforces. An online database that offers real-time insights through cloud-based tech aids workflow automation, which also leads to greater engagement from employees on an individual and collective basis.
The harsh reality of business is that you cannot eradicate errors. However, most mistakes can be attributed to human error. So, the introduction of a source of truth should significantly reduce them. For starters, workers have 24/7 access to real-time info removes confusion and allows them to continue assignments with 100% confidence.
Crucially, the company-wide integration of IT, financial, and client information ensures that teams can make calculated decisions by seeing the company in its entirety. Actions will no longer be restricted to the information acquired by one department. In turn, the best steps can be implemented to support clients, workers, and the business.
A single source of truth offers organization-wide support
When implementing any new system, it’s important to remember that every team and employee should be accounted for. After all, a high sense of belonging is shown to boost productivity by over 55% while simultaneously creating a sense of fairness across the board.
A single source of truth connects aspects of analytics, design and development, fulfilment, and management to provide a hugely useful resource for all teams. As a business owner or senior manager of the company’s tech facilities, the ability to focus on one upgrade rather than making changes for each team or department.
Boost data accuracy
Not only does a source of truth ensure that all relevant data is made available. It also removes duplicate data, which can subsequently prevent duplicate processes or the compromising of information relating to customer trends or key business verticals. It does so with instant results too.
As such, the implementation of a source of truth additionally helps companies make the transition to an iterative approach, especially when using tools like Knack. Given that rate of evolution across all commercial sectors, this is a breakthrough. Not least because teams can use clear data along with their skills and expertise for continued improvement.
Improve team unity
Not all benefits of business process automation and improved online database management are considered tangible. Nevertheless, the improved sense of team unity will be felt across the business from C-level execs down to junior workforces. A source of truth can play a significant role.
For the best results, it should be combined with communication tools like team message apps. A team that works together will be happier, more productive, and less likely to encounter downtime or delays caused by human error. Given the role of data in virtually all business environments, it can benefit the company today and in moments of expansion.
Another rewarding feature of having a source of truth relates to increased security. By now, you’ll know that cyberattacks occur every few seconds while 95% are caused by human error. It becomes far easier to avoid data breaches when information is stored in one cloud-based environment.
When some aspects of the online database are held in unencrypted or protected settings, there is a risk of problems surfacing. Using a single source of truth also means that there aren’t duplicate paper copies in a vulnerable position. Ultimately, data security will become easier to manage for your IT teams as well as workers, including remote-based employees, and HIPPA compliance needs.
Making the most of the source of truth
When completing the upgrade to a single source of truth, several challenges must be considered. Accessibility for all users, evaluation standards, data privacy, and the quality of data are all key features. Knack is a fantastic solution that allows you to quickly build business apps that get your data to the right users, at the right time, with the right workflows.
By using a no-code application, virtually any business of any size and tech proficiency can embrace our tools to redefine business workflow pipelines and improve virtually every aspect of the company. Some of the key attributes that deliver genuine value to your company include.
- Permissions and access levels: A single app can be used by multiple teams or departments to share data or workflow (especially workflow with pipelines).
- Connections: Different types of data can be mapped to work together as it does in the real world.
- Dashboards: it’s possible to build reports in Knack too high a high-level overview to share with stakeholders or teams
- Notifications: Apps can support email notifications when records are updated or add notices to pages to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Integrations: It’s possible to integrate with other third-party services via Zapier, Integromat, or our API. So, customers can integrate their app into existing tools they use making Knack the hub for their data.
Of course, championing this type of online database can only yield results if everyone buys in – from management down to employee users. Furthermore, you must enter the process with a clear understanding of your objectives and how to achieve them.
Most importantly, you must consider the data that you actively want to collect and collate within your source of truth online database. The decisions made here will ultimately guide your other key features like dashboard presentation and data mapping. Of course, considering the integrations that will actively benefit your teams should sit high on the agenda.
Going forward, you must create an open dialogue with your teams too. They will ultimately let you know if the available data is sufficient for their requirements or what modifications may be required to take your endeavors to the next level.
The final word on having a single source of truth
In today’s business arena, where interconnectivity between teams is an integral feature for the speed and accuracy of workflows, you cannot ignore the benefits of establishing a source of truth. When implemented to its full potential, productivity and profitability will soar.