The main goal of data strategy is to support innovation and deliver insight within a business. In the same time, it should match with the priorities defined in the business strategy. The first step in defining the data strategy is therefore to define priorities and goals on how to support the business initiatives using the data in our organization.
Before we start to draw any conclusions from our data, it's important to do the preparation work first. We have to define how we will collect, store and secure the data.
The first step of the data strategy is collecting the data. It's important to define where will be data collected, what sort of data may be interesting for the future use, what data are already being collected and if there is some limited timeframe for collecting the data.
Each company that collects data must make sure those are secured against the breach. If the breach occurs, there must be processes in place, that limits the damage and protects the business as well as the users that were the originators of the data. Depending on the countries you operate in, you may have to comply with special laws, for example GDPR laws in Europe.
Even before we start to collect data, we have to define the place where we will store them. This depends on multiple factors, for example the type of data ( structured vs unstructured ), the security and law requirements, how are we going to use the data ( everyday reporting versus long term storage of data that you access very rarely ). All these factors may impact the actual technological solution and the processes that have to be in place in order to successfully put in place proper storage options for our data.
With proper data collection, storage and security, it's time to analyze data and find relevant insights for our business.
We advise to focus on the quick wins on the beginning. Apart from being able to bring some value quickly, it can also help your team to get started and get some valuable experience. The results of your effort can afterwards help you to sell the importance of the data strategy to the stakeholders for the bigger impact initiatives.
Choosing the right tools to support your plan may be crucial to success of your data strategy. It's important to have a clear understanding of what your goals are and take time to do the due diligence required. Tools should reflect the size of your company, provide pricing models that work for your type of organization and the functionality required by your analysts to perform their work. Cloud and SaaS solutions can usually deliver the most value here, especially for small and medium sized businesses.
Whether you handle the analytics of the data in-house or you decide to hire third party experts to help you with the creation and execution of your data strategy, the deciding factor between success and failure will be the people involved. Keep this in mind when you handle your internal hiring or evaluate a third-party agency.