Why now is the perfect time to plan for your data strategy future.
COVID-19 has thrown the world on its axis. Many, but not all, organisations have been unprepared for these unprecedented times.
Unfortunately, a lot of organisations weren’t prepared for their entire workforce to need to work from home, and it has left many scrambling to put systems and procedures in place, which has presented a lot of challenges. As a society, we have never had to act so swiftly to change the fundamental way we work before.
Organisations who were more mature in their management and application of data have been able to manage the transition to the new way of working more easily more easily than others. Interestingly there isn’t a straightforward relationship between long established organistaions being either good or bad at this nor is there between relatively young organisations being good or bad. Those who are succeeding are those that have taken a strategic approach to data and information.
This global event has highlighted organisational inefficiencies. However, it can be used as an opportunity to review your data strategy, plan for your future and a way forward beyond the current COVID-19 crisis.
What is a data strategy?
At Data Agility, we define a data strategy as being your target state for how you want to manage and apply your data. It gives you a vision, principles, your target state that you want to achieve, and it tells you how you’re going to get there. It also defines how your data will play a role in helping your business achieve its objectives.
Harvard Business Review defines a data strategy as “A coherent strategy for organizing, governing, analyzing, and deploying an organization’s information assets that can be applied across industries and levels of data maturity.”
Since 2005 Data Agility have been applying its Enterprise Information Management framework to the development of data strategy. We’ve constantly evolved it and it has become widely respected cross-industry method for organising and applying data to enable data analytics to make timely business decisions.
Working out what to use and what not to use can be enormously time consuming, and there is often an uncomfortable feeling that in doing nothing, you might be missing the boat.
Another challenge that we see at Data Agility is that for all the mass of data that exists, what you want may not exist, or you may not have access to it even if it does exist.
It is very hard to make good decisions without reliable data. Ted Friedman at Gartner put it ‘a data lake without data quality is just a data swamp’.
Understanding Your Data
Why you need to develop a data strategy
At Data Agility, we have worked with hundreds of organisations in a wide variety of industries, and have delivered dozens of data strategies.
If a data strategy isn’t in place, it is harder to use data analytics to make evidence based decisions, these decisions can be less accurate, and it can take more time (and cost more) to come to these decisions.
For instance, if an organisation wants to understand how much it costs to run a division, or what impact a decision will have on business operations, it will be more efficient, and ultimately more effective, if they can swiftly access run a report with reliable data on which they can base their decisions.
If, on the other hand, they need to manually collate and then analyse that data to make the decision, there is a time delay and the data can be subject to human error. This can:
- Extend the time it takes to make the decision, all the while the business is still operating
- It can increase the labour costs (as more people are required to run the analysis or are taken away from critical projects to do so)
- Slow down the decision–making process. It can take days or weeks to get a result that might only take a matter of minutes with the correct data strategy in place
A data strategy results in improved accuracy and timeliness, thus allowing organisations to make better and faster business decisions.
Victoria Legal Aid
Data Agility developed Victoria Legal Aid’s (VLA) first Data Strategy. The strategy was required to focus on lifting capabilities, enabling VLA to become a significantly more client centric organisation.
Initially, the engagement saw the creation of VLA’s Data Strategy and the Data Agility Enterprise Information Management Framework.
Working collaboratively with VLA, the work was undertaken in two phases, including a current state assessment followed by the development of the strategy and implementation plan. Working closely with the VLA Data Working Group and Executive, the strategy and investment plan was endorsed by the Board.
Data Agility then led the initial implementation of the strategy with work focusing on the reporting uplift, including the implementation of the Tableau Business Intelligence suite, data governance and building internal data capabilities as part of the knowledge transfer to allow VLA to eventually own and run the program of work.
“It’s been great working with Data Agility. They have been very motivated to understand the business and to embed alongside our staff and not just engage with senior leadership but to really understand the coal face experience of people who are collecting data and needing to apply it in their everyday work to improve, to understand how effective and efficient and productive they’re being.“
Peter Noble, Executive Director, Victoria Legal Aid
Looking To The Future
How a data strategy can help prepare you for the future.
When we develop a data strategy for our clients, the Data Agility framework is attached to their business drivers. We bring our experience and expertise at developing data strategies, to their unique business requirements.
When Australia emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations will have changed forever. Some for the better, but sadly some won’t recover from this global pandemic. By planning now for how you need to handle your data differently in the future, you will be in a better position than when we started the pandemic.
Looking at what impact you have experienced, how your organisation needs to operate moving forward and what your core business actually is.
An organisation may emerge from COVID-19 realising it needs to run more efficiently than it was in the past. A data strategy will help provide historical, predictive and analytical insights required to make effective business decisions to enable that.
Coming Up Next
The foundations of a data strategy.
Next month, we will be looking at the basic foundations of a data strategy. If you would like assistance to develop your own data strategy in the meantime, contact us today for a no obligation discussion.