A team working with a single source of truth

Single Source of Truth (SSOT): Definition, Benefits, & Obstacles

Most digital marketing agencies spend hours pulling and cleaning data from numerous sources in an attempt to extract business insights. But when these sources exist in silos, it becomes impossible to make quick and accurate business decisions—which hurts the profitability of your agency. 

To eliminate this issue, truly data-driven agencies are moving towards working from a single source of truth, also known as an SSOT

In a nutshell, a single source of truth is the practice of merging all your data into one, centralised repository that can be used across your whole organisation. This repository acts as your sole, comprehensive data source, eliminating the risk of incomplete, dispersed, or inaccurate data.

Still not convinced? Keep reading to find out how an SSOT might just transform your life as an account manager.

What is a Single Source of Truth (SSOT)? 

We’ve established that embracing a single source of truth approach is the way forward if your business is looking to keep up with the competition. But what exactly does an SSOT look like, what can it do for your agency, and how would you go about getting one? 

Let’s start with the basics. 

A single source of truth can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the term is used to describe the philosophy of consolidating data from across a business into a single, mutually accessible location.

In simpler terms, an SSOT allows for all your company metrics to be recorded and analysed in a centralised database that can be accessed by every employee working for your organisation. Not only does this eliminate data silos—it also means that your entire team is always on the same page, making it easier to recognize data patterns and identify efficiencies. 

How to Tell if You Need a Single Source of Truth? 

In order to understand whether it might be time for your business to enforce an SSOT mentality, let us ask you a few questions.

How many hours does your team spend on tedious, click-intensive tasks? Does your agency find it difficult to leverage genuinely insightful analytics? Is your team regularly struggling to organise data from multiple sources? If any of these questions resonate, a single source of truth is the solution for you.

With advanced business intelligence and a tailor-made data warehouse, all of these issues will become a thing of the past. An SSOT approach will allow you to collect, clean, and analyse information faster, providing you with a 360 view of your business. 

Why is Having a Single Source of Truth Important? 

As your business grows, so will all of its data, which tends to reside in the numerous applications your agency uses. Because each of your departments deals with a different system, however, important metrics and data are inevitably missed due to lack of communication. 

But what if your entire organisation could view and compare all of its data using a single application? 

Instagram app on a phone

Picture this: your agency’s most recent Instagram post – which advertises one of your newest products – receives a whopping one hundred thousand likes, a lot higher than your average. Surprisingly, your sales don’t increase as a result, and you have no idea why.

In a matter of minutes, one of your newest team members runs a report on the company’s data warehouse to figure out what’s happened. The report reveals that more than half of the users who liked your post are from countries your agency doesn’t actually deliver to, which gives you a clearer picture of who is most interested in your products—and thus who your business should be targeting.

Before you chose to embrace the SSOT way, this same scenario might have taken your team countless hours and serious labour to get to the bottom of. With your own data warehouse, however, even your non-technical staff can query, interpret, and communicate data like never before.

5 Benefits of a Single Source of Truth 

#1. More accurate data

Dispersed, siloed, and incomplete data continue to be a very real obstacle for many digital marketing agencies. An SSOT approach eliminates error-prone copy and paste procedures and duplicate entries of data in favour of a unified data warehouse that automatically cleans and processes all data. This means that your SSOT software  is always accurate and can be used across your whole agency as its trusted, definitive source of data. 

#2. Increased productivity

When your employees are constantly having to deal with tedious, time-consuming tasks, team morale drops. With a single source of truth practice in place, however, your account managers no longer have to spend hours sorting through huge amounts of data, as a data warehouse automatically does this all for you.

This frees up heaps of time, meaning that your team can work on bigger stuff, such as innovative strategising. The results? Increased productivity and a lower cost per client.

#3. A 360 view of your business performance

360 view of a SSOT dashboard

Effective cross-channel and agency-wide reporting is a key factor when it comes to understanding who and what is helping your business achieve its long term goals. Embracing an SSOT philosophy means investing in a data warehouse that enables your agency to analyse its customers more comprehensively than ever before by looking closely at every aspect of your business performance. 

#4. All agency data in one place

How many hours does your agency spend pulling and cleaning data from all of its different systems and applications? The big differentiating factor when it comes to embracing a single source of truth is that all your company data is stored and standardised in a single, unified repository. Think of your data warehouse as your company’s gospel truth. 

#5. Keep up with the competition

A custom-based data warehouse that acts as your single source of truth adds to the value of your brand and differentiates you from most other marketing agencies out there. Employing an SSOT mentality sets you apart from your competitors because being a data innovator means iteratively improving the data intelligence capabilities of your company. 

How to Overcome Obstacles When Adopting a Single Source of Truth 

#1. Accessibility 

Although the purpose behind the SSOT philosophy is that everyone and anyone on your team should be able to access all company data, the reality is not always so straightforward.

If your data warehouse isn’t built and set up properly, it might mean that only data engineers will understand how to actually use it. But because most agencies don’t have in-house tech staff, it’s crucial that your tools, dashboards, and visualisations are clear, concise, and easy to digest. This will enable data democratisation at its finest.

#2. Collecting high-quality data

We’ve gone on and on about the importance of data. Nailing your data management is undeniably one of the most important things your business should strive towards—but let’s not forget that there’s such a thing as bad data.

When setting up your SSOT, make sure you are simultaneously agreeing on company standards when it comes to the data you’re using. This way, you’ll avoid confusion down the line.

Collecting data in a single source of truth

#3. Participant Buy-In

The first thing you need to do when shifting your data management to an SSOT philosophy is to work with senior business leaders and stakeholders to establish which data warehouse or source to use. Because many parties are involved and connecting to the right data partner can be difficult, this can prove time consuming.

Communication is absolutely key, and it’s important that you discuss the pros and cons of each source to ensure you are choosing the right option for your organisation. 

#4. Resistance to Change

The word “automation” can create resistance to change as your employees might fear that they are being replaced. However, the opposite is true in this case.

Make sure you tell your team that less time spent clicking around and copy pasting allows more time to think—and it increases job satisfaction. When it comes to shifting your data management strategy, ensure that you are keeping your whole team in the loop at all times—this will help avoid them feeling alienated and confused. 

Need Help Building a Single Source of Truth? Acuto Can Help You! 

Every digital marketing agency out there has its own unique strategy. And as an agency, your data is spread across various channels: Google Ads, Data Studio, Analytics, not to mention all your social media platforms. 

So what if we told you that we could help you consolidate all that jumbled data into a unified data warehouse serving as your single source of truth and—more importantly—that it wouldn’t break the bank?

It used to be expensive for smaller agencies to build custom tools. But the underlying technology has changed, and we’re here to tell you that the size of your agency no longer matters. Acuto is a new type of service company that builds solutions tailored to your agency’s unique strategies—delivered by a team of developers and cloud engineers with a PPC background. 

Because very few agencies have in-house specialist cloud engineers, we offer a managed advertising data warehouse service. And just to be clear: you own everything

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We help you set up and manage a BigQuery data warehouse tailored to your business, so you can sit back and focus on what you’re great at. Our data warehouse services are designed to help agencies from the planning phase all the way through to implementation. We keep working with you to implement data and automation solutions that set your agency apart and enable a true SSOT mentality.

Get in touch if you would like to learn more about our flexible, infinitely scalable, and cost-effective data warehousing services. 

Key Takeaways 

Okay – let’s recap. If you want to show your clients that your agency’s approach to ‘data driven’ is cut from a different cloth, embracing a single source of truth mentality is the logical way forward.

Think of your single source of truth as insurance against all the discrepancies and miscommunications that naturally arise when your organisation operates using various different systems. An SSOT in the form of a data warehouse provides greater business intelligence by giving you a truer, more comprehensive look at your business in its totality.

Single Point of Truth FAQ 

#1. What is the meaning of a single source of truth (SSOT)? 

A single source of truth (SSOT)  is a term used to describe the practice of collecting and consolidating data from across a business into a single, mutually accessible location.

#2. How do you obtain a single source of truth? 

If you have an in-house tech team, the first step is agreeing on a source and defining what an SSOT means to you. Once you have agreed on a source, your data experts can start building your SSOT pilot!

If you don’t have an in-house tech team, though, no need to worry: Acuto can help you achieve your SSOT goals with a managed advertising data warehouse service tailored to your organisation’s unique needs. 

#3. How does a single source of truth benefit marketing agencies? 

With a data warehouse, agencies can process the endless data at their disposal to develop and invest in successful niches within their client base, all in a matter of seconds. 

#4. How do you ensure data accuracy? 

A SSOT approach eliminates error-prone copy and paste procedures and duplicate entries of data in favour of a unified data warehouse that automatically cleans and processes all the data it comes across. This means that your SSOT is always accurate and can be used across your whole agency as its trusted, definitive source of data.

#5. What are examples of a single point of truth? 

A great example of a single point of truth is a search engine like Google, which is only capable of meeting our needs because it catalogues all of its resources in a central database. Other examples include regulatory compliance, and SSOT software such as data warehouses.

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