Data Strategy — why, what and how

Piotr Jurowiec
6 min readJan 28, 2023

Introduction

Data-driven firms can make well-informed decisions about how to apply big data best to further their missions with the help of data strategy. Data strategies, like sales strategies, help organizations improve their marketing techniques for better results. Organizations use data strategy to create a comprehensive plan for each data workflow, from identifying business challenges to gathering data and creating insights for strategic decision-making. Data strategy often incorporates defensive and aggressive strategies to reduce risk, streamline operations, and generate profit. It is powered by the company’s business strategy and technology approach. Given the scope of this topic, there are various aspects to consider when developing a data strategy, and locating the biggest opportunity is critical. The market your organization deals with, its regulatory profile, consumer expectations, competitive behavior, and supply chain are all critical considerations.

Importance of Data Strategy

The problem is that businesses acquire Big Data but fail to put it to use quickly enough. When no comprehensive data strategy formulation is in place, companies frequently experience the growth of data sources or collections of infrequently used data. As a result, companies that lack a defined data strategy are more likely to create Data Warehouses.

The capacity to analyze data to gain insights for better decision-making is becoming increasingly vital as firms recognize that simply collecting vast amounts of data is no longer a competitive advantage. Making the most of data requires a sound strategy supporting business decisions despite an ever-changing environment.

It would help if you had the plan to realize the value of your data and produce meaningful results and align with your company’s aims. With the help of a data strategy, your firm can be innovative, business users can be productive, and the company can be competitive. Without a plan in place, you can face frequent data issues such as:

  • Unable to make timely data-driven decisions
  • Reporting on the past without looking ahead and making plans for the future
  • Users’ low adoption of technology
  • Being forced to utilize only one vendor at various stages of the data lifecycle
  • Metrics and KPIs having ambiguous, hazy, or unsubstantiated meanings
  • Data silos and divergent “truths” utilized by distinct departments
  • Manually merging information from several sources
  • It is taking far too long to prepare the raw data.
  • Problems with data availability and quality
  • Users rely excessively on IT

How Data Strategy Should Be Aligned With Company Strategy

A company has a far better chance of meeting its goals if it has a well-thought-out data strategy integrally related to its business plan. To achieve strategy alignment, you will need to collaborate closely with top corporate executives to identify and address the most pressing issues confronting your company. A robust data strategy can assist in resolving these issues by building a framework for the appropriate technologies and outlining clear criteria for implementing solutions.

This level of precision will be useful in developing a plan that uses only the facts that the firm genuinely requires. You’ll be able to form good working relationships with the company’s leadership due to your compatibility. They must be on board since building a new data strategy is not quick or inexpensive. It is simple to make a mess of things if the final result for the company is not considered from the start.

Who Will Build A Effective Data Strategy?

Data strategy groups usually include members with senior management, business analytics, and information technology backgrounds. Examples of user involvement in data strategy development and implementation are the following.

Data Engineers: Data engineers are responsible for creating a dependable and efficient data architecture. They oversee and manage data pipeline activities such as data gathering, processing, storage, and analytics. Professionals in this profession are accountable for adhering to all data security and governance standards.

Data Scientists: Data scientists use data engineers’ information collected and sanitized. The data is then utilized to construct machine learning models and report on business intelligence.

Data Analysts: Data analysts are experts at analyzing and interpreting enormous amounts of data. They collaborate closely with data scientists to ensure that business intelligence tasks match the organization’s goals.

Business Managers: Managers in charge of business operations review data reports and assist with data operations management. They verify that the data strategy adheres to the law and the long-term objectives of the firm.

What Are The Elements Of Building Data Strategy?

There are elements of data strategy which are as follows:

Understanding business needs

The first step in developing a data strategy is to identify business goals by examining the needs of internal teams and stakeholders. No time spent developing a data strategy will be sufficient to tackle a problem unless it is properly understood. Businesses must develop goals to measure their progress after employing Data Strategies. With stated objectives, it is simple to perform periodic evaluations to assess the success of the data strategy.

Data requirements

After completing the necessary business tasks, businesses must collect the relevant data to aid in problem resolution. You may come across structured and unstructured data here, developed in-house or collected from various external sources. On the other hand, internal data rarely meets the objectives of data analytics or machine learning. As a result, businesses must rely on APIs or resort to data scraping. On the other hand, businesses should exercise caution while scraping data and be aware of the information they acquire. Given the numerous data privacy standards already in place, organizations must limit processing to information that consumers have consciously and voluntarily submitted.

Data Governance

Businesses deposit data in Data Lakes for further processing after discovering and collecting it from various sources. Businesses can provide greater data governance when all essential data is collected and preserved in one location. However, the information stored in data lakes is not ready for use in data-analytics jobs. Extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) are used to prepare data for cross-departmental analysis. ETL can be used to improve data quality and store information in data warehouses, which are critical for businesses to accomplish their goals.

Technology

Businesses require a wide range of strategies and resources to manage data successfully and put it to commercial use. Businesses must use cutting-edge technology to maximize productivity, whether it is data collection tools, data storage solutions, or analytics software. Using cutting-edge technologies helps businesses stand out in highly competitive sectors. Despite the availability of premium APIs for data collection in many businesses, some organizations may require human coding.

Skills

Hiring competent individuals is a critical component of any data strategy implementation plan. Although no-code tools are becoming more widespread in the data industry, qualified professionals who can manage activities needing unique answers to suit data needs are still in great demand. For example, data for data analytics and machine learning is frequently difficult to obtain. Data Engineers’ primary job in making relational data insights more available is to extract specific information from unstructured data and organize it into an organized form.

Conclusion

Many data-related projects within companies fail primarily due to the absence of a well-defined data strategy that effectively coordinates the activities of the entire team. In order to ensure stability in the face of changing needs, it is crucial for companies relying heavily on data to implement a professionally planned data strategy. This article outlines a method that businesses should consider to guarantee the success of their data projects. However, it is important to note that each organization has unique requirements, necessitating the customization of their Data Strategy. Despite the varying demands, most businesses encounter similar challenges. In today’s data-driven landscape, where companies have access to vast amounts of constantly evolving information, the need for a robust data strategy is more evident than ever. Designing an Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) pipeline that can effectively handle the increasing volumes of data and adapt to changing schemas is a resource-intensive process. Consequently, constructing a data pipeline from scratch and developing corresponding data strategies can be a formidable task.

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Piotr Jurowiec

Business adviser and senior manager fascinated by how new technologies, like blockchain and AI, revolutionize the economy and create new business models.