How to build a data strategy?
Whether you’re a smaller, growth-bound company or an established enterprise, you might be actively looking for ways to boost your growth and improve your business through the power of data and its insights.
A robust data strategy can help you navigate through your needs, and help you understand how you can utilize your business data to achieve your goals.
Through this blog, we will walk through a series of six straightforward steps on how to build a data strategy for your business.
What is a data strategy?
A data strategy is a plan that describes how you collect, store, manage, use and share your business data end-to-end. This ensures that all of your company's data resources are organized in such a way that they can be easily and efficiently shared among all the different business units that may want to use your data. It helps you move away from the older, legacy format of storing data in isolated chunks, to building a comprehensive plan involving all the people, processes and tools involved in managing your data.
Building a data strategy step-by-step
Step 1: Start small with a single unit
When you are looking to build a data strategy, it is good to start with a single business unit, to direct your attention to and test out your strategy. The first step, therefore, is to identify which unit you would like to create your strategy for, and arrive at a particular use-case you would like to focus and apply your strategy for.
Step 2: Identify your key stakeholders
The next step to constructing your data strategy is to build a diverse and interdisciplinary data management team to take your data strategy ideas from planning to implementation.
This team should be built by identifying key stakeholders, including:
Senior level managers, heads of departments who recognize the value of data as a business asset.
People from various operational units such as internal IT, Finance etc who contribute with technological support and awareness on financial value.
Associates within the team to provide domain expertise and recognize key pain points.
Project Managers to help coordinate between various stakeholders and ensure delivery timelines are met.
Step 3: Recognize your current needs and goals
Once you have your stakeholders ready to gather and brainstorm, the next step is to identify what issues and needs your business unit is tasked with—and what objectives you have set in order to eliminate issues and achieve improvement.
This includes engaging with your base team members, the domain experts, to identify their immediate challenges, long-term setbacks, and scope for growth and improvement.
Step 4: Extract and observe the data related to your needs
The next step is to extract relevant data that can aid in planning out a strategic roadmap to reach your goals. Through the analysis of this data, you will obtain insights that can help identify methods and plans through which you can achieve your goals.
This process, when done recursively, will lead to the establishment of what is known as data governance—which codifies how your data is stored and organized.
This is an important step as it not only touches on factors such as storage requirements and methods, it also determines how data is accessed and shared by different departments and units who wish to make use of the data.
Your data must be stored in an easily accessible, consistent and compliant format to make it truly usable and actionable for teams.
Step 5: Design a data strategy roadmap
Now that you have your goals and data resources set, it is time to create a roadmap that traces the path to achieving them.
A data strategy roadmap comprehensively covers aspects such as who owns each of these goals, what is the technology involved, what costs they may encounter, and the time frame in which this objective will be achieved.
This strategic plan helps the business include the effort towards the short-term and long-term goals into their workflow, and identify how data can play a part in the path towards them.
When put in action, each activity that is successfully carried out in the roadmap takes you one step further to achieving your objectives.
Step 6: Expand to your entire organization
Once you have successfully worked through each of the above steps, it is time to take your data strategy to the next level—comprehensively and company-wide.
In order to implement this and develop a data strategy for your business, it is important that you obtain buy-in from people across the organization.
To do this, you can prepare a report that details the micro-level implementation of your data strategy step-by-step, identifying the goals, data strategy framework you have used, the data strategy roadmap you have created, what results you have collected and what benefits have shown up.
Besides this report, list down the working, impacts and benefits that a data strategy can bring to your business, and sensitize both executives and the ground teams on what changes a data strategy can bring to the organization. This not only ensures that stakeholders across the organization have visibility into the plan, it also reinforces the importance and impacts of leveraging business data for an organization.
When people across your organization are informed and interested in developing a successful data strategy, it results in building a framework and roadmap that is robust, all-inclusive and well incorporated into the workflow by your teams.
Step 7: Take it from the top
Post approval, you can proceed with implementing this complete data strategy for your business that will help improve and accelerate every aspect and working system through intelligent use of data.
Elevating your business’ work through developing a data strategy is not fully done, though. To truly flesh out its potential, you must recursively come back to review, update and improve this process to suit the needs of your business and its goals
Over six major steps, we have, together, coasted through all that you will need to build a firm and functioning data strategy for your business to help you grow through data. If you are a business that is looking to maximize the benefits of your business data, you need the help of seasoned consultants who can take your data to task and help you retain the focus on your business. As experts in providing customized data services and solutions for businesses, we at Sedin are focused on helping businesses reach their goals through data. Through our services, we can help you strategically utilize your data to bring security, compliance, integrity and advancement to the core of your business.
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