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Three Step Strategy for Data Success

Data and transformation projects often have high expectations. But, 85% of these projects fail to deliver the expected ROI.

In this post, we’ll explore a three-step strategy for data success that can help your organisation achieve its data goals. This guide will help you:

  • Identify the best opportunities to get value from data
  • Convince stakeholders to invest in data projects
  • Get started on creating an org-wide data strategy

Identify Opportunities:

As a data enthusiast, it’s easy to get excited about all the potential data projects you could undertake. However, not all projects are created equal, and it’s important to focus on those that will bring the most value to your organisation. Although it may be tempting to start with the low-hanging fruit, it’s crucial to prioritise data projects that have the greatest potential impact on your organisation’s revenue.

  1. Understand the business: Identify each department and the data sources available.
  2. Identify critical data assets: consider which teams and processes are most crucial to generate revenue in the business. By taking this strategic view, you’ll be better equipped to convince stakeholders to invest in data projects that will most significantly deliver value to your organisation.
  3. Assess current data asset use: Evaluate the quality, completeness, and the relevance of the data to business objectives. This will help you determine which teams should be prioritised when addressing data challenges or opportunities. 

Align stakeholders:

Proper stakeholder alignment is crucial for data project success. Misaligned expectations can lead to confusion and delays, ultimately resulting in failure to deliver desired outcomes. Aligning stakeholders ensures everyone has a shared understanding of project goals and scope. This can help minimise change requests and keep the project on track.

  1. Build a business case: Develop a clear business case that outlines the potential benefits of the data project, including ROI, improved decision-making, and competitive advantage.
  2. Communicate value: Clearly communicate the value of data and how it can be used to address the business problem at hand. Use data visualisation techniques to make the case more compelling.
  3. Start small: Consider starting with a small pilot project to demonstrate the value of data and build momentum for larger initiatives.
  4. Create clear KPIS: these will demonstrate how you’ll drive value in the business. These should be on two levels – value to the business overall, and value to individual business teams.
  5. Build stakeholder support: Build a coalition of stakeholders and decision-makers who can support the data project and help to promote it within the organisation.

Build your organisation-wide data strategy:

Many of the assets needed to inform your data strategy can be created iteratively as you deliver data projects in the business. Things like your definitions of data, roles and responsibilities, and data sources are identified on a project basis, and once documented, form the backbone of your company’s strategic thinking on data. 

  1. Start creating a data dictionary: This should define a description of data & nominate a person responsible for data integrity in partnership with the business team. This will help your board understand how data contributes to success.
  2. Define business objectives: Define the business objectives that the data strategy should support, and identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to measure success.
  3. Identify data sources: Identify the data sources available in the organisation and determine their quality, completeness, and relevance to the business objectives.
  4. Define roles and responsibilities: Define the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders involved in the data strategy, including data analysts, data scientists, IT professionals, and business leaders.
  5. Demonstrate results: Deliver some pilot projects to show the value of data initiatives in key business areas. This will help convince the business of the value of data as a whole to the business.

The Executive Data Framework can help your team implement an iterative approach to accelerate data projects. It outlines a structured approach to data strategy that helps businesses maximise the value of their data investments and build a culture of data-driven thinking and decision-making.

This roadmap will help you maximise the success of data projects in a way that is tangible to the business and board, to help you make the case for continuous investment in data projects.