May 10, 2021

The 5 most important considerations to building a data-driven organisation

Tim Archer
Tim Archer Director of Analytics

Business challenge:

Data and Analytics Roadmap
Data and Analytics Strategy

Building a data-driven organisation is a top priority for modern organisations. However, depending on your data maturity, the first steps can seem complex and daunting. 

An effective data and analytics strategy factors in issues of sponsorship, alignment with business strategy, data literacy, culture and adoption, and more. However, the answers to these issues will come over time and it’s important not to get bogged down in details without first stepping back to take in the bigger picture considerations.  

In this article, we’re going to look at five of the most important principles that underpin a data-driven organisation. 

1. Vision 

Data and analytics leaders, including chief data officers, are positioned to affect real change in businesses, and to help lead the way to a data-driven culture.  

Sitting alongside business executives, they have the potential to promote data literacy within the company, direct change towards impactful data initiatives, and to inspire the confidence in fellow business executives.  

In order to orchestrate a positive shift in business towards data and analytics, leaders in this field must embody and articulate their vision. They can do this by crafting ‘leadership moments’ that give the wider team a chance to see leaders enacting the change they wish to see. This can take the shape of a senior leadership-led team or organisation wide meeting that endorse and drive adoption of the practices and behaviours that they are looking to embed. 

Needless to say, a strong vision combined with leadership that practices what they preach, is the first step toward building a data mature organisation. 

2. Ambition 

In a world driven by digital enterprises, data and analytics can no longer play a passive role in business. 

There are still many businesses who haven’t named an executive to take responsibility and ownership of their data and analytics. Instead, information is utilised on a reactive, project by project basis. Relegating data and analytics functions to such an outdated, service-based paradigm, is to ignore the true potential of information to drive business value. 

Position yourself ahead of your competitors by placing responsibility for data and analytics in an executive level position. This ownership facilitates the ambition needed to seize new opportunities and shape the wider data culture. A talented data and analytics executive will, in turn, attract more ambitious personnel who can lead new projects and foster an organisation-wide appreciation for the field.  

3. Reality 

Once you have coupled your vision with talented personnel who can champion change, it’s essential to take the necessary time to calibrate your goals to achieve tangible, realistic targets. 

Careful consideration of the timeline for your data and analytics initiative will help to mitigate risks and the potential for setbacks. Trust is key when transitioning toward a data-driven business, failing to meet goals that have been communicated put this trust at risk. 

If it becomes clear that the goals are too advanced for your current resources, personnel, or data culture, then it’s essential to make the necessary adjustments to achieve a lasting impact. 

Prioritise short-term, achievable benefits that drive business value. Which each success, those longer-term ambitions become more reachable and realistic. 

4. Environment 

Always take the time to consider external factors alongside the internal ones. What are your competitors doing? What is the current business climate? By placing yourself in the wider context of high-performance peers, you gain real-world examples of how data and analytics is being used to drive business value across the market. 

These insights can be hugely influential when encountering a change-resistant business culture. Trends indicate that data and analytics is a necessary part of successful modern businesses, and a CDO or other executive-level sponsor needs to guide and shape data culture for future markets. Point to the provable benefits which are evident across the marketplace, and outline the risk of missing opportunities that others are positioned to seize. 

5. Practicality 

The road you take to build a data-driven organisation will likely be mitigated by the resources you have available to you. This is not something to ignore. Taking heed of what is practically achievable is a clear and positive step in the right direction. Real, lasting change and improvements are built upon strong foundations 

Advanced software or hardware may be required, and further training or new personnel may be needed. Who you have available to operate data and analytics projects, and precisely what technology and platforms you currently operate with, will ultimately determine how and in what timeline you can build your data-driven enterprise.  

Large investments don’t happen overnight and it’s important to sequence your strategy to maximise short-term outcomes without losing sight of your larger ambitions. 

Conclusion 

Data and analytics holds enormous potential across a wide range of business use-cases. To take advantage of this discipline requires bold and pragmatic leadership that can balance vision and ambition against the practicalities of the real-world market environment. 

This article is part of our Data-Driven SMB series. For more information, advice and resources on how to accelerate your organisation’s data and analytics maturity, click here or contact us today.

Business challenge:

Data and Analytics Roadmap
Data and Analytics Strategy
Tim Archer
Written by Tim Archer Director of Analytics

Tim lives, sleeps and breathes analytics. A Chartered Management Accountant by trade, Tim has been with TrueCue for over a decade, having previously enjoyed roles as a Finance Analyst at Walt Disney and Auto Trader.

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