Whether you’re a massive data behemoth like Facebook or Google or a tiny, family-owned firm, any good business begins with strategy. And these days, any business, large or small, in any industry, requires a strong data strategy.
There are countless ways that data may benefit a business, but they can divide into two categories. The first is using data to better your current business and how you make business choices. The second is transforming your day-to-day company processes with data. In practice, most businesses begin by wishing to enhance their decision-making and work their way up from there.
If you wish to leverage data, however, you must first develop a data strategy. What data you collect and how you analyze it will be totally dependent on your goals, so you should have considered this from the start. Having a data plan streamlines the process and prepares you and your team for the path ahead.
Creating a Robust Data Strategy: Some Pointers
Including important corporate actors and decision makers in the process can help you develop a stronger data strategy in general, and gaining their buy-in at this early stage means they’ll be more likely to put all that data to good use later on.
Remember that, like with any company improvement effort, things may change or evolve.
the path You could discover that your data indicates new questions you wish to investigate or that it leads to changes in your current data approach. If this happens, simply go over your data approach again, re-evaluating each of the points below one by one.
A Data Strategy Has Six Components
The following critical questions should be answered by a successful data strategy:
1. What Do I Need to Know or What Problem Do I Need to Solve in My Business?
Instead of starting with the data (what you already have, what you might be able to obtain access to, or what you’d like to have), it’s far better to start with the company’s goals. After all, why collect data that isn’t going to assist you reach your business objectives?
Consider the strategic goals you’ve set for the next several months or years. Define what you want to accomplish, and then consider the significant unresolved questions you’ll need to address in order to carry out that approach. In a nutshell, figure out what you want to do using data. Do you want to reach out to additional clients, gain a better understanding of your present ones, or figure out where the ideal places to give your service are?
2. What Information Do I Require in Order to Answer My Questions?
It’s even more crucial to think small in this age of huge data. After my session with the leadership group, I recently worked with one of the world’s major retailers. Their CEO went to his data team and urged them to cease constructing the world’s largest database and instead build the smallest database possible. This aids the organization in answering its most pressing questions. This is an excellent method of analyzing data.
Think about the perfect data you’d like or need to answer each of the questions you’ve outlined. Look within the company to examine what data you currently have once you’ve specified the ideal data. Then go outdoors and see what data you might be able to get your hands on. But keep in mind that you’ll only know where to seek for data and how to acquire it if you know what you’re looking for.
3. What Method Will I Use to Analyze the Data?
After you’ve defined your information requirements and the data you’ll need. You’ll need to describe your analytics requirements, or how you’ll transform that data into insights that will help you answer your questions and achieve your business objectives.
Traditional data gathering and analysis – such as point-of-sale transactions, website hits, and so on – are one thing, but unstructured data, such as email exchanges, social media postings, video material, and so on, has a lot of potential. A lot of the value comes from combining this chaotic and complicated data with more traditional data, such as transactions, but you must have a plan for the analysis.
4. What Will I Do With My Findings and How Will I Report on Them?
Data is meaningless unless the important insights gleaned from it are given to the relevant people in the correct format to aid decision-making. Using data visualization tools and taking the effort to highlight and display important data in a user-friendly manner. It can help ensure that your information is used effectively.
The most essential thing to remember at this point is to keep your target audience in mind. As a result, you must specify how the insights will be delivered to the information consumer or decision maker in this stage. Consider which format is ideal and how to make the insights as visually appealing as feasible. You should also examine whether interactivity is required, i.e., do your company’s key decision makers demand interactive self-service reports and dashboards?
6. What Is Your Strategy for Moving Forward?
You’re ready to design an action plan to convert your data strategy into reality now that you’ve recognized the various needs listed above. This will have critical milestones, participants, and responsibilities, just like any other action plan. One of your first actions after developing your data strategy will be to build a solid business case for data to the people in your organization, successfully persuading them of the benefits of utilizing data and connecting them to business KPIs. You should also determine your company’s training and development needs, as well as where you may want outside assistance.
I’ve used this six-step process with businesses and government agencies of various sizes and in a variety of industries. It’s a straightforward and clear technique for developing a data strategy that involves important decision makers in an organization. I hope you’ll find it useful as well.