I want to be data-driven. How do I get there?

Tips to becoming a successful data-driven organisation

I want to be data-driven. How do I get there?

9 March 2018

In my first blog on how you can drive value from your data, I outlined 6 key questions businesses must be able to answer. In this blog, I’ll dig into question 1 in more detail – In order to become a data-driven business, what data do you need? 
At first, this might sound like an odd question – what data do you need to benefit from a data-driven approach?  However, it’s really about understanding how data supports better decision-making across your organisation. Simply put, the more meaningful insight you have on business-critical issues, the more likely you are to make an informed choice which leads to a better outcome. The challenge is changing the mindset of your business to create a culture where data-driven behaviours are intrinsic within all operations.
But how do you know what data your business needs?
It’s important to start with a thorough understanding of your overall data landscape, including what data exists, how it’s managed, where you might have significant quality or access challenges, and most importantly, how it is governed. This provides a temperature check, identifying a baseline for a framework to ensure you have a clear understanding of the data challenges your business currently has.
The next most important aspect is reviewing your company’s business strategy, as this determines the priorities for a data & technology roadmap. Allowing for measurement of business objectives is key to supporting better decision-making across the organisation.
Ultimately to create a culture that lives and breathes data-driven decisions and actions, your business will need to address these essential 4 areas:
Your data strategy should align to your business objectives
A data & technology roadmap is needed to support your data strategy
The value of data should be clear to everyone in the organization
Data must be made readily available for easy use within the organization
If we look a little deeper at each of these areas, some key questions arise which can help guide you on your data-driven journey:
Business Strategy & Objectives: Your business strategy should really be defined with the customer in mind and underpinned by clear objectives which are easily measured through KPIs. These KPIs will inform your data & technology strategy and priorities. 
Is there a clearly defined business strategy?
Are the business objectives measurable?
Is the customer part of the objectives?
If you can answer yes to those questions, you’ll have the right foundation in place upon which to build your data strategy. 
Data & Technology Roadmap
No data strategy will succeed without a data & technology roadmap. Used primarily to mobilize the organization around its data strategy, it provides a clear action plan for measuring success. 
Is there a data & technology roadmap and how often is it reviewed?
Is it clear what data is needed to measure the business objectives?
Are Data/IT teams able to raise items for review?
The roadmap should be prioritized based on the business objectives that are used to measure your organization.
Data Strategy Alignment
In order for everyone in your organization to have a clear perception of the value of data to the business, internal alignment of stakeholders on your data & technology roadmap and priorities is essential.
Is there a defined set of stakeholders that review the roadmap?
Do they meet regularly?
Is there a process for prioritizing roadmap items?
In addition, the strategy and roadmap need to be well documented and the benefits of data communicated across the entire business so that the principles of a data-driven approach become embedded within the culture. 
Data-Fueled Decision Making
For your business to successfully leverage data & technology for better decision-making, data-fueled business intelligence and analytics need to be made readily available to employees. 
Is decision-making intuition based or is data heavily used to drive the business?
Do KPI’s and a customer language exist?
If data highlights issues with strategies or objectives, can the course be adjusted?
It goes without saying that facilitating easy access to meaningful data is essential for nurturing a culture that makes data-driven decisions and actions.
Transitioning your organisation to become a data-driven business is a complex process, and data itself is just one aspect of this. Having clear alignment on business objectives and data & technology priorities creates the right foundation for understanding what data your organisation needs to compete effectively in the modern data-driven economy.
Want advice on how to build your data & technology roadmap? Get in touch with our data experts today

Data & Technology Director for Africa, Asia, EMEA and LatAm

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