It holds too much valuable information that can be used to make powerful business decisions. Developing a data strategy will help your organization assess what data you have and how and why you should use it. It’s truly a building block for so many activities across the enterprise.
5 Steps for Developing a Data Strategy
Now that you understand why developing a data strategy is important, here are the steps to follow during the strategic planning process.
1) Create a Diverse Strategic Planning Committee
Historically, most organizations approach data from the top down. Our advice? Don’t. Data reaches across all areas of an organization, so it’s crucial to get stakeholders across the company involved in this strategic planning process. That’s the first step to successfully developing a data strategy.
Why? Involving a cross-section of stakeholders allows planning to dig deeper into how company data is used throughout the company, providing a bigger picture that drives better decisions and strategy development. If you know how things are being used throughout the organization, you can build on areas that can and should be used to advance business directives and goals.
2) Define How Your Data Aligns with Organizational Goals
As you consider this step, your planning committee needs to agree on the role your data plays in reaching measurable organizational goals. These goals determine the kind of data you need and also guide how it is collected, stored, managed, accessed and analyzed. Ask yourselves, “How will this data help our organization over the next year? The next five? The next 10?”
3) Address How to Collect, Access and Use Data
Any successful data strategy needs to examine how efficiently you will manage all that data. What are the ways you are collecting it? How will all pertinent stakeholders access it? How is it going to be used once they do access it?
These are important questions to address when you are building your strategy. You want to be sure it’s being used and analyzed in ways that help answer the business questions that were asked of the data.
4) Discuss Breaking Down Data Silos
Chances are much of your organization’s data is siloed and hard to access when it comes to cross-departmental needs. You want to be sure it’s easy to access, use and understand. Silos make this hard to do.
A strong data strategy needs to address how you will break down these silos and improve data accessibility for all stakeholders. Decide if you need to consolidate data management systems. Develop policies for data storage and structure that benefit the organization as a whole.
5) Design a Strategic Implementation Roadmap
Lastly, make sure you know how you plan to implement this strategy. Who will own each step of the process? What’s your timeline? How will you roll out the changes? Make sure all of these variables are documented with a solid plan.
Speaking of changes, it’s always a good idea to incorporate change management into the process. Let your workforce know why you are implementing a new data strategy, how it will be implemented and what their roles, if any, will be in the process. Provide training if necessary and help them embrace a better way to use and analyze your vital data.
Be sure to check out more about data in our blog, What's the Difference Between a Data Lake and Data Warehouse.