What's in this podcast?

In this podcast, Jason Foster talks to Jim Stevenson, an experienced data professional with over 20 years helping companies grow. In the last few years, Jim has been focused on data, helping companies implement a new data organisation. On the podcast, Jim discusses how companies can use data products to unlock value and help them grow.

Listen to this episode on Spotify, iTunes, and Stitcher. You can also catch up on the previous episodes of the Hub & Spoken podcast when you subscribe.

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For more on data, take a look at the webinars and events that we have lined up for you.


One big message

Data has the potential to transform businesses, and it is up to organisations to take advantage of this potential by investing in data strategies and empowering their data teams. However, it is still important to keep in mind that everything comes back to business growth.

00:53 Jim’s background in the data industry

03:07 The most common reason organisations choose to hire data experts

07:38 The role of data products and distinguishing them

13:45 What is it around the mindset of data products vs projects

17:30 Agility and adaptability around data products

21:46 How the setup of your data team can affect performance

26:09 How to reduce friction to gain buy-in

33:14 Data product management


Data as a growth lever

Data has emerged as a critical growth lever for companies in recent years. While many companies acknowledge the importance of data, they often fail to comprehend its benefits and how to leverage it to their advantage. Data can eliminate tedious tasks and create new prospects for organisations. Additionally, having a data leader in the company who can establish a data strategy, manage stakeholders, and educate the team on data handling is essential for a successful data strategy. Data provides significant potential for companies to become truly data-driven.

Creating data products that solve business challenges empowers data teams to create value for organisations. These data products can range from analytics dashboards, predictive models, and automated reports. Additionally, creating data products requires cross-functional collaboration between data teams and other departments within the organisation, which can provide a unique opportunity for teams to work together towards common goals. 


What is a data product versus project

A data product and a data project differ fundamentally in several ways. A project is a temporary effort with a defined beginning, middle, and end that produces specific deliverables within a year. In contrast, a data product has an ongoing commercial aspect and requires continuous iterations to maintain value delivery. A data product typically includes data sets, integrations, graphs, machine learning models, and dashboards, among other features.

In a project, the constraints of time, cost, and scope determine the approach, while in a data product, the approach depends more on how to treat something rather than on the outcome or engineering objective. Data products are designed to facilitate better focus on outcomes and provide better value delivery. 

The importance of data products in modern businesses cannot be overstated. Data products help companies leverage their data and derive value from it. Moreover, a data product offers businesses the opportunity to monetize their data by selling it as a service or product to other companies or the general public. As such, organisations need to understand the difference between a data product and a data project, and how to use data products to achieve their business objectives.


Data products, agility and how they affect team structure

The value of data products in modern businesses is undeniable. They offer a new way of thinking about data, how to package it, and how to use it to achieve better focus and value on outcomes. Data products involve the commercial and customer-focused aspect of data, such as internal customers receiving analytic reports, dashboards, customer 360 graphs, or machine learning models that predict customer behaviour. Data products have been around for 10-15 years and have become an essential component of any organisation. They provide insights that help improve customer experience and better serve customers.

Having good data and data products make organisations more agile. While both are not necessary, having both can take businesses much further. However, organisations must be empathetic to the way people are usually rooted and focus on removing barriers to achieve their desired outcomes. They should also engineer informal conversations into remote work and keep communication open to ensure their teams remain engaged and productive.

Finally, data products require a specific team structure to be successful. Organisations need to have strong leadership, as well as a data team that understands how to create and deliver data products effectively. Good data products require an agile approach to delivery and culture. By removing silos, focusing on outcomes, and creating a customer-centric culture, organisations can better understand their customers and make data-driven decisions that lead to business success.


Managing a shifting budget with data products

Data products and cross-functional teams can have a significant impact on an organisation’s finances. While data products offer a customer-focused approach to data, the scope of the project can change while budgets remain rigid. As such, managing shifting budgets with data products can be challenging.

One way to manage shifting budgets is to have a product team that prioritises different things instead of trying to balance everything. Such a team would focus on the most critical aspects of the product that deliver the most value to the customer. Additionally, organisations need to have buy-in from the business to ensure that data products receive adequate funding. Getting buy-in from the business requires demonstrating the value of data products and how they can improve the organisation’s bottom line.

To get buy-in and funding for data products, organisations need to focus on the benefits that data products offer. By providing better customer insights, data products can help organisations make data-driven decisions that lead to business success. Additionally, organisations need to demonstrate the value of cross-functional teams and how they can work together to create data products that are more customer-focused. By getting buy-in from the business, organisations can ensure that they have the necessary funding to create effective data products that deliver value to their customers.


Data has become a critical growth lever for businesses, and data products have emerged as an innovative way of thinking about data, packaging it, and using it to drive business outcomes. Creating data products requires cross-functional collaboration, a specific team structure, and strong leadership. By embracing data products and investing in their data strategies, organisations can gain a competitive advantage and achieve business success. 

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