The 5 questions organisations must ask when building a data strategy

Content provided by Info-Tech research group

Data is likely the lifeblood of your organisation, especially as it continues dealing with pandemic-related disruption. But the common approach to managing and extracting value from data is broken.

The problem is an assumption that IT departments “own” organisations’ data. IT teams plan, implement and maintain systems hosting data, so your business probably looks to them as the sole keeper of its information.

But IT departments own that data as much as a train driver owns the work of everyone that hops aboard to get to their office.

While your IT team plays a central role in building data strategy, a wide range of other stakeholders should also be actively involved in this process.  

Spending money on digital transformation without addressing this issue of data governance, ownership and stewardship is risky. It increases the chance of exposing poor quality data when systems and processes are activated.

However, things often get muddy when trying to clarify data ownership. Organisations often struggle to determine who is ultimately responsible for managing data infrastructure. And they struggle to define, build and manage the right governance frameworks to ensure data infrastructure keeps pace with their business.

At Info-Tech, we have worked with organisations throughout the Asia Pacific region to address these issues, by developing data strategy and governance frameworks.

This experience has shown us that these issues are best tackled through a cultural change process, rather than a single project. Asking the right questions ensures all decision makers appreciate the value of data, the importance of prioritising data governance and strategy, and the risks of not doing so.

To maximise your chances of getting everyone on board, consider asking the following questions while building a data roadmap:

  1. What is the data business case and how can it best be communicated to executives? In seeking support for a data strategy initiative, frame the conversation around the business drivers and the competitive advantages of a data-first culture.
  1. How will my organisation use data to drive its corporate strategy? Data is a competitive weapon and explaining how it will be wielded – and how it can provide a marketplace advantage – can help senior leaders understand its importance.
  1. What is the current state of our data environment? Build a comprehensive inventory of all structured and unstructured data assets. Identify perceived strengths and weaknesses of each asset, how they affect your business, and possible strategies to address those weaknesses. Use business-friendly language to document what it looks like to derive value from data-based assets.
  1. How would I describe our organisational culture? Would you describe it as data-driven? How effectively has your organisation managed change? When has it done this successfully and what common weaknesses have been observed?
  1. What does the privacy and security macro-environment look like? How are changing regulations and stakeholder expectations impacting the way your business collects, stores, uses and exchanges data?

Robust data strategies built on solid governance frameworks and supported by highly engaged stakeholders will give you a decision-making edge against competitors who haven’t received the data memo.

Read Info-Tech’s blueprint for building a robust and comprehensive data strategy.

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Lisa is avid technical blogger. Along with writing a good articles, She has close interests in gadgets, mobile and follows them passionately.

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