A good data strategy requires data with a real purpose. After all, data and theories are useless without intended purposes and goals.
Aside from setting SMART goals, the first step in a data strategy is to identify and understand data usage. After all, it is very important to use data-driven decision-making for smarter choices within your organisation.
Understanding why your organisation uses data can be just as important as knowing where and what it is used for. Keeping this in mind supports your organisation in planning a good data strategy.
Read on and learn more about creating a good data strategy with tangible benefits to your business operations.
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Don't let your data strategy become stale
An important idea to keep in mind when designing your organisation’s data strategy is to keep it updated.
Data strategy and overall business strategy should closely align. In an ideal world, it would be built into the overall strategy as a unit. Much like with your business strategy, therefore, your data strategy must adjust in the same way.
For instance, check if your organisation has not updated your data strategy during or as a result of the pandemic. A lot has changed as a result of COVID-19, from big-scale changes like unemployment rates to smaller details such as individual spending habits. If your strategy and data have not been updated at this time, then it is unlikely to benefit your business.
In fact, your strategy documents should undergo regular reviews. Data strategy is not just a ticking-box exercise, and there is no real endpoint; they should be constantly improving.
The ability to reflect, review, and update a data strategy relies on how well an organisation can recognise the risks of actually using data in the first place. For example, how can the data take your organisation further in your field?
Data leaders must critically evaluate any potential data hazards, including regular reviews of data risks. These risks comprise of anything from the latest data storage regulations through to potential cybersecurity concerns.
Revising data strategies as you understand new risks is critical to building the necessary framework for a successful data approach.
Consider what data governance means to your organisation
Consistent reviews of data strategy form an extension of good data governance.
Often, many teams view data governance as the need for a set of comprehensive rules that keep data within narrow confines. However, overbearing data governance regulations can sometimes create more harm than good, stifling creativity in the name of compliance.
Instead, data governance should be about marking the outer boundaries of data operations. Data leaders should also be provided with the space they need to innovate and develop their processes.
In summary, governance must expose and protect against dangerous activities, whilst also keeping things free to adjust and move as necessary.
Understand the purpose of your strategy
Proper use of data is not just about following rules and regulations – it is about being creative and recognising data’s greater purpose.
This is why businesses must understand their data purpose in order to become more data mature.
Data must be treated as part of an overall business plan and strategy. Constant revisions, updates, and innovation ensure your organisation’s current circumstances are reflected. A good data strategy with a purpose also pushes your organisation to grow and improve.
Support your team through your data strategy
Another key piece of advice to keep in mind is that your data strategy is only as good as the people who use it. Team members who do not understand your data strategy or data purpose will not be able to apply data effectively.
When a business assesses its data maturity, it should begin with assessing what skills are present in the business. For example, having a chief data officer is not beneficial in itself unless the role fits into the organisation structure and the organisation’s growth phase.
Ensuring existing employees understand the purpose of data for themselves and their departments is also crucial. Businesses must therefore have the right facilities to train employees to become data literate. This involves the ability to create, read, write, and argue with data. Employees must also be confident in new terms and data concepts, as well as why data knowledge is critical to understanding their own department’s operations.
Supporting your team through your data strategy creates good data citizens and further facilitates data-driven decision-making within your departments.
Provide positive data leadership
In addition to training teams to use data efficiently, key stakeholders must also set standards for data use within businesses. After all, if senior executives are not making business decisions based on data, then how can they expect the rest of the organisation to do so?
It is therefore crucial that your organisation has a corporate culture that treats data as a critical resource and of equal importance as technology, HR, and finance.
Having a team member who understands data and can confidently express the importance of using data within your business supports the business in improving overall data capabilities. It also sets an example for other team members to follow.
Data leaders must also understand the value of data as an asset, in addition to the skills to promote that value across the business. This is why a data leader who prioritises creativity and understanding the power of data is crucial to implementing a good and successful data strategy.
After all, an organisation’s strategy is only ever as good as the people using it.
To summarise, the secret to a good data strategy involves good data governance guidelines, investment in the right data tools, and managing people. Positive leadership and strong people skills are some of the simple ways to add value to your data strategy.
If you are seeking support in developing your organisation’s data strategy, then BDI can help. We offer a Business Systems Review service, which involves identifying where your organisation may be getting stuck with your current systems.
Through this personalised service, BDI will look at your existing business systems and recommend areas for improvement. From here, you’ll be able to run your business more efficiently whilst also reducing costs. We work with a select group of industry professionals, many of which are experts in their field.
Avoid wasting valuable time and money on mediocre software solutions by arranging a Business Systems Review with BDI today.