The 5 Key Elements Of A Data Strategy

The 5 factors you should include to ensure you have a successful data strategy.

In our multi-part Data Strategy blog series, we explore the 5 key elements every Data Strategy should have. As part of the development of the data strategy, the first step is the creation and communication of the vision, principles, governance model, target state and ultimate plan. 

Vision

Why you need to align to your organisation’s vision

The effective application of a data strategy within an organisation requires that everyone is aligned to a single goal and a single set of guiding behaviours.

The vision should be aligned to and supportive of the broader organisational vision, mission, goals and strategy. Your data strategy is one part of the broader organisational strategy, and as such, must be aligned to it.  

When writing your data strategy vision, the key is to keep it short, succinct and to the point. At Data Agility, we recommend our clients keep it to 20-30 words. The goal is that this vision is easily understood by the team and broader organisation.

Principles

Set your guiding behaviours 

When developing the data principles, you can follow the same approach as above for the vision. Your principles are your guiding behaviours and will be unique for each organisation. These principles set the scene for the outcomes you want to achieve. Like your vision, the key is to keep your principles short and succinct. At Data Agility, we recommend our clients aim for no more than 5 key principles.

Governance Model 

Who, what and how to govern 

As you develop your data strategy, it is important to determine your governance model. If you understand what data you’re trying to govern, who is involved, and how it will be governed, you will have a more successful strategy. 

A common mistake we see organisations make when trying to develop their data strategy without the expertise of Data Agility, is that the data governance responsibility is given to non-business staff such as those in information technology (IT) or data teams. The problem with this is that they are there to support the business with data governance.  

Instead, governance needs to be owned by the business, or ‘data owners’. They need to take responsibility for their data, amongst other things.

Strategy

Where do you want to go? 

Part of the strategy is to define your target state. This sets the scene for where you want to end up once you have implemented your data strategy, and how this supports your organisation’s strategic objectives. The strategy should be no more than three years in duration, as things change so quickly in the world of data. In addition to the data, the strategy should include desired capabilities for: 

  • Technical  
  • Process  
  • People  
  • Architectural components 

The vision should be aligned to and supportive of the broader organisational vision, mission, goals and strategy. Your data strategy is one part of the broader organisational strategy, and as such, must be aligned to it.  

When writing your data strategy vision, the key is to keep it short, succinct and to the point. At Data Agility, we recommend our clients keep it to 20-30 words. The goal is that this vision is easily understood by the team and broader organisation.

Plan

Implementing your strategy

Your plan is a series of projects which enable you to get from where you are today to the target state of your strategy. Your plan achieves your target state and your vision. Your plan should include:  

  • Technical changes required 
  • Organisational changes required 
  • Individual projects or initiatives  
  • Overall delivery model (eg. Internal, outsourced or mixed) 

Coming Up Next

Next Steps 

This data strategy blog is part of a multi-part series on how to develop your data strategy. Check out the previous articles in our data strategy series here where you can read more about the previous stages that should be covered. The final piece in this series will focus on the ‘doing’ stage with information on how to develop a much more detailed project plan with the specific tasks required. 

 If you would like assistance to develop your own data strategy in the meantime, contact us today for a no-obligation discussion. 

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