create success

Introducing the Level Up Framework (™): your guide to a successful, pragmatic and adaptable delivery of your data strategy

Creating an environment for success

Success tends to depend on clarity of purpose, a solid strategy, a clear plan, plus the ability to adjust and adapt as you progress. This is as true for data as it is for any initiative you embark on, and becoming data guided requires that formula.

Having worked with hundreds of organisations across every sector over 15 years, it became clear to me that certain activities are consistently required to create the kind of success that the data ‘brand’ promises, and a certain environment is required to breed that success. 

Time and again I see the same blockers and challenges inhibiting organisations from meeting expectations and delivering value. There is frustration and anxiety from business and data leaders about what to do first, which order to proceed in, how quickly to progress certain elements – and how to make success more certain. 

Every situation is different of course. But there is commonality to the building blocks, activities and thinking that is required as you progress to becoming an organisation that is guided by data.

A framework that guides the journey

The Level Up Framework is a method we’ve developed to make your data journey more practical, more predictable and easier to explain to stakeholders.  It removes the fog; it brings clarity around your data strategy in terms of what you need to do, in what order and to what end.

The framework values business outcomes and building capabilities in equal measure. An approach that focuses (to the point of obsession) on adding incremental business value is the priority. It takes learnings from the way that digital and data-native organisations have successfully started, ramped up and scaled their organisations, and applied these through the lens of the data journey.

The Level Up Framework is based on five stages that give you activities to carry out. Milestones let you know when you’re ready to go to the next stage (we call them the ‘Breakthrough Criteria’).

Each stage builds on the previous. The better the achievement of the criteria of one stage, the more certain and likely you are of success in the subsequent stage. It also values iterative improvements across the journey rather than big giant bang changes that take too long to implement and deliver value from.

The Level Up Framework stages

The Stages of the Level Up Framework 

Here are the stages of the framework, including the aim and the priority high-level areas of focus for each stage:

Stage 1 – Establish: set the agenda for data in your organisation, get buy-in and secure initial funding.
  • Educate the organisation
  • Identify the business need
  • Create a starter team
  • Build the case and get initial investment
  • Communication and collaboration
Stage 2 – Prove Value: build credibility and prove the value of data by delivering business return, building foundational capabilities and refining the roadmap.
  • Build a minimum viable product that delivers some business value
  • Create visibility of core business metrics
  • Establish technology practice
  • Get investment to scale
  • Communication and collaboration
Stage 3 – Scale: deliver business value at scale across the organisation and cement your core capabilities.
  • Deliver big business returns
  • Scale data products and services
  • Grow skills and organisation design
  • Mature the operating model
  • Embed data-guided culture
  • Communication and collaboration
Stage 4 – Accelerate: shorten the time to market for business outcomes at scale through data products and service. 
  • Deliver fast business returns
  • Build strategic optimum organisation
  • Implement event-driven and automated actions
  • Incremental, rapid innovation
  • Continuous improvement/learning
Stage 5 – Optimise: refine and optimise business processes, outcomes and results. 
  • Focus on optimisation of process and outcomes
  • Think small adjustments, huge returns
  • Hands-free decision-making
  • Valued data asset
  • No decisions made without data 

Organisations that use this framework to help shape their roadmap, communicate to their organisation, and manage their progress report an increased pace of sign off for their data strategy, and speed of the value they’ve returned, in comparison with previous attempts.


View the Level Up Framework Webinar

Written by Jason Foster


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