Defining and delivering your analytics strategy can be a challenge. We work with many organisations with great ambitions using data, but are don’t know how to get started, or what the best approach is.

Organisations come at this in different ways. Essentially, you have to define why you want a strategy, how you make it business enabling (not just about the data itself), and what you will do once you’ve defined it. We’ve identified 5 great hacks to get your data strategy underway.

1. Shape your vision around business problems and opportunities

To begin with, you need to come to terms with reality – your vision shouldn’t be using data in flashy ways, building ‘data lakes’, or to delivering AI. Instead, figure out what things data can do for you from the outset; what things data can fix, enable, make happen, and drive for your business.

That’s the most important thing for your strategy. What will you actually do? Then, shape the vision for your data strategy around that. Improve retention, increase conversion, remove friction from processes, and automate the hell out of your supply chain.

2. Make sure you get buy-in from across the business

You should avoid trying to ‘do data’ to your organisation; don’t deliver and hope, don’t secretly build the best solution, and don’t define a data strategy in isolation.

Get out there; talk to your people, gain momentum, hit the top of the organisation, and find more involvement in your data strategy. Better still, find a senior business owner to work closely with, and champion your efforts with using data.

3. Build a team with business, analytical and technical skills

Construct a team the best way you can, based on the constraints you have. Cross-train, develop skills, and bring in third-parties, within a varied team. Initiatives are won by a team. You need to be business people first, who can translate and integrate with the sharp end of the business.

Try to mix in some analytical capability to build the brain, as well as technical skills to ingest and manage using data. It’s a team sport; play the game.

4. Think about what you can get done and go do it

You can talk and plan the hell out of this stuff, but always avoid hanging around. There’s a long process ahead of selecting technology, choosing a team, and achieving buy-in for long-term programmes. However, none of that matters if you take 24 months to show your organisation that you can deliver value.

Jump in a room with your team (or you and a whiteboard) and answer the question, “What could we do tomorrow?”. Then go do it. You need to make all those other decisions alongside, but you’ve got to attack this on multiple fronts simultaneously.

5. Speak to people and collaborate in using data

There are many ways to skin a cat and depending on your organisation, the maturity with data, the aspirations and desires you have will ultimately shape the best way to approach your data strategy. Learning how others have done this, or are planning to approach this, will rapidly accelerate your understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Learning from other peoples’ lessons is always the best route; avoid the scars they gained from being a step ahead of where you are. Collaborate with other organisations like yours, and speak to people who have experience in other industries, to prevent becoming stuck thinking in yours.

For more insights into building a data strategy, make sure to download our Data Strategy whitepaper.


Written by Jason Foster


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