What's in this podcast?

In this podcast, Jason speaks to Randy Bean the author of “Fail Fast, Learn Faster” and is a consultant to some of the largest data organisations in the world with experience ranging from venture-back startups to multinational corporations. Together, they discuss what sets a successful data strategy apart from the rest.

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One Big Message

It is not the amount of systems, people and money you have that will make you successful in the long run. It is the traits, the culture and focus on business values that will help your organisation reach its full potential. 

[01:34] Randy’s journey into data from being a English and Literature graduate

[04:35] What really sets successful data-driven organisations apart from the others

[07:50] Striking a balance between short-term goals and the long-term vision

[12:19] Why mindset shifts are key to creating success in the workplace

[16:55] The next frontiers in ethics within data science

[20:40] Going over some key statistics on companies opinion of data and the role in plays in their organisation

[22:00] Why data culture is important to implementing a successful data strategy

[24:30] Keeping a focus on the value of data and how it ties into the business value

[27:30] How to balance business value with the need to experiment and innovate

[30:31] Examining whether or not incremental spend is better than bulk budgets

[34:00] The danger of centralising too much data

[36:30] Closing thoughts on how successful businesses use data


Characteristics of successful organisations in general

There are so many different opportunities within growth for business, especially for those that utilise data to help with their operations.

Instead of certain systems and procedures, successful organisations tend to enforce cultural traits which underpin their day-to-day operations. The three main ones are:

  • Resilience: Successful businesses are resilient, meaning they are able to overcome any obstacle in their way. Whether it’s a difficult economic climate or competition from larger businesses, resilience is key to long-term success.
  • Innovation: When businesses try new things, they stay ahead of the competition and keep growing. Innovation is not a new concept in business. In fact, it has been around for centuries. The only difference is that today, we have more tools and resources available to help us innovate than ever before. 
  • Commitment to hard work: Many people don’t realise just how much dedication and commitment is needed to make it to the top. Those who are willing to put in the extra effort will undoubtedly be successful, while those who aren’t prepared to work hard may find themselves struggling sooner rather than later.


Finding a balance between the long and short term data strategy

There is a lot of talk these days about the “big data revolution” and how businesses need to develop a big data strategy in order to stay competitive. But what is often overlooked is the importance of having both a long term and short term data strategy. On one hand, you have the data team focused on developing a long-term strategy that will pay dividends down the road. On the other hand, you have business stakeholders and data managers who need to see quick wins. 

So how do you find a balance between these two competing demands? Here are some tips: 

  1. Define what success looks like upfront 
  2. Align your long-term strategy with business goals  
  3. Communicate regularly with all stakeholders 
  4. Be flexible and adaptable as needed 


The role of data culture

If there’s one thing that successful organisations have in common, it’s that they all adapt and change with the times. In order to stay ahead of the competition, they continually assess their strategies and operations, making alterations where necessary. This agility ensures that they’re able to capitalise on new opportunities and respond quickly to any challenges that come their way. 

Changing mindset to cater for new and evolving technologies can be difficult for legacy businesses who have had successful processes for decades.


Keeping focus on business value and balancing it with experimentation

In order to keep your data strategy focused on business values, it’s important to understand how your company uses data. One way to do this is by creating a data inventory and data flow diagram. This will help you see where the gaps are in your data and what areas need improvement. Additionally, it will help you determine which projects should be prioritised in order to improve your overall business strategy. By taking the time to understand how your company uses data, you can create a more effective data strategy that aligns with your business goals.


To summarise

There is no specific blueprint to creating a data strategy that will be successful. However, there are several key ingredients that are necessary for any data-driven initiative. In order to achieve success, businesses need to be able to adjust to a data-native culture and always maintain focus on business values


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