Data strategies play a vital role in the success of great businesses. Where there is data, there should be a comprehensive data strategy to make sure that the data is protected and used to its greatest potential. This is particularly true of consumer-facing businesses, commercial organisations that gather their data from customers.
Consumers are more aware now than ever about their rights and the value of data, so making sure that stakeholders handle data in an ethical way as well as helping that data achieve a greater impact through their decision-making processes is the road to business success.
A thorough understanding of how data moves through a business is always the first step in any business oriented strategy. The current state of the organisation is always the starting point — stakeholders need to ensure they have a full understanding of where the business is at the moment in terms of data and insights activation is crucial to knowing where the pitfalls lie, where the policies are impactful and how data flows through a business — if it flows at all.
The first stage of a top-down data governance strategy starts with a full evaluation of the way data moves throughout an organisation. With that full understanding, stakeholders are able to create effective policies and processes for the others in the organisation to follow.
Then, detailing the business’ objectives and trajectory is crucial for the success of data and other strategies. Understanding the business’ unique needs, capabilities and objectives at all times will help stakeholders to design a data strategy that can help fulfil the full potential of the business — these objectives, capabilities and needs will evolve as time goes on, so making sure to keep up to date with those needs and objectives is essential for keeping the data strategy relevant to the business zeitgeist.
As well as understanding the business, there is a deeper evaluation that must be conducted of the business’ data generation capabilities, whether that comes in the form of a fully-fledged insight team, a few in-house insight experts or the stakeholders’ ability to recruit a research agency to act on their behalf. Understand too that the organisation’s market research capabilities and objectives will also evolve with time, as the technologies and skills accumulate and the objectives change with the business’s objectives.
From this, stakeholders can move onto designing research strategies to obtain the right data. The results from evaluating the market research capabilities in an organisation will form the foundation of this next step. From data generation to analysis, creating an insights team with the right skills and resources to conduct impactful research strategies is crucial and will affect all data strategies.
Building Your Own Data Strategy
Data strategies will be based on the capabilities and results of research experiences, documenting the new data that emerges, tracking it throughout the organisation, and employing the right data security and management policies and practices to make sure that data is secure. Obtaining the right data means designing the right research, creating effective research experiences and tasks to source that high-quality, relevant data. Understanding what the right data might be will come from understanding the business’s challenges and needs.
Once those research strategies are designed and the data is being generated, businesses need to implement the right technological infrastructures to support data movement. Having the right systems and processes in place to support increased access to data is incredibly important for the overall success of a data strategy. One of the best ways to know what processes and technologies to put in place would be from evaluating the current movement of data and outlining what the optimum movements would be to increase the chances of insights activation.
Democratising access to data increases the level of insights activation across organisations, with stakeholders able to dip in and out of data warehouses or insight inventories as they need to in order to inform quick decisions. There are insight teams across industries curating their data warehouses to help communicating data to the right stakeholders at the right time. There are other infrastructures that can be put in place alongside data warehouses to help boost the access to data, with other channels communicating in different ways to appeal to different stakeholders. This range of data visualisation will lead to more insights activation and an easier, more secure flow of data throughout the business.
Throughout all of this, businesses need a comprehensive data governance programme. Employing a data governance programme is what allows a greater sharing of data, enhancing access to research and insights to all stakeholders necessary. This also creates a recorded history of the data, and how it’s been used and manipulated from all sources, which can be stored in a data warehouse for universal access across the business.
Data governance programmes identify people and processes to boost data communication too — this could take the form of creating insight advocates, identifying the right stakeholders and putting in place infrastructure to help boost the sharing of data across wider audiences.
This article and infographic were originally published on the FlexMR Insights Blog and can be accessed here.