Getting started with your data strategy

Achieving effective results with the help of your data: how do you go about that?

  • Article
  • Data Strategy
  • Our approach
Eiske-data-analyst
Eiske Jensma-van der Lei
Data Analyst
4 min
17 Apr 2023

How does all the data you collect effectively contribute to achieving the organisational goals? Few organisations actually succeed in converting insights from their data into results. As a data consultancy firm, we regularly talk to organisations that are overwhelmed by the vast array of tools and the large amount of data, and can no longer see the wood for the trees. Does this sound familiar? The development and implementation of a well-thought-out data strategy will help you regain control.

What is data strategy?

How you define data strategy differs per organisation. The definition is highly dependent on the department that starts working on it first. A marketing team approaches data strategy in a different way than HR or Sales. They each have their own goals, desires and vision on data, which ultimately results in a different data strategy.

In practice, if one department starts formulating and implementing a data strategy, other departments (and eventually the entire organisation) should follow suit. In fact, data transcends departments. Many responsibilities for the collection and disclosure of data are carried out in a different department than where the data is used. It is much more desirable to use the same guiding principles. In addition, a uniform organisation-wide data strategy is necessary when multiple departments use the same data.

Our definition of a data strategy is: a strategic data plan that is derived from the organisational strategy that clearly explains how data is used to achieve the organisational goals.

Without a clear plan with a clear vision, you will not optimally utilise the possibilities of working in a data-driven manner. Investments in data-driven working do not pay off, departments work at cross purposes, insights from data are not (properly) used and you are constantly looking back. Instead, you want to look ahead and extract value from your data, but how? It’s high time to get started with your data strategy!

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How do you formulate a data strategy?

Developing a strategic data plan requires a structured approach. Our data strategy model helps you gain an overview, identify opportunities and map out challenges:

data strategy model digital power
Our data strategy model

It all starts with your organisation's mission. What are you trying to achieve? You determine your data strategy based on your organisational goals. Based on this, you determine the goals for each department. Here, it is important that you set goals that the team can really influence.

Based on the departmental goals, you define the data ambitions. Why do we collect data, what do we want to achieve with it, and how does our data add value to achieving our goals?

In practice, many organisations are mainly focused on developing data products. They secure their data collection in a data warehouse, visualise their data in dashboards and invest in complex tools. The possibilities for data activation are not well-utilised. There is insufficient thought given to which data sources should really be linked together, nobody looks at the dashboards, and tools are not used properly.

Research in the past has already shown that 80% of the capacity is spent on building data products and only 20% on extracting value from the data through data activation. As a result, the focus is mainly on data collection and not enough on value creation. As a data partner, we still see this happening a lot in various sectors. Other data specialists also see that this can be improved.

Several enablement factors influence the success of your data strategy. Your organisational structure, processes, competencies, data governance and technology must be well-aligned. For instance, your organisational structure influences the knowledge and skills (competencies) of your people.

  • Do the right people work in a place in the organisation where they can influence the achievement of your goals?
  • Do these people have the right knowledge and can they really make an impact?
  • Are processes designed in such a way that they contribute to working with data in an efficient manner or are they counterproductive?
  • Is technology accessible to everyone and are the rules for working with data clear?

These are some of the questions that organisations can ask themselves. By asking many people for input, you can get a clear picture of what is going well and where there are bottlenecks.

Want to start working on your data strategy together?

Knowing where to start, bringing the right focus and identifying your bottlenecks: the road to a successful data strategy starts with understanding your current situation. This can be done by interviewing stakeholders. Workshop sessions with those involved to gain insight into the situation are also effective in situations where timelines are shorter and the stakeholder field is less complex.

Together, we consider how we can get your organisation to the desired end state and which data products and tools are needed. We outline a data strategy that suits your organisation and help you develop customised solutions using our data strategy model as a guideline.

Throughout the process, we as a data partner work closely with those responsible for the data strategy. With our knowledge and experience, we help you take the right steps. Also during the implementation, you will be in control as much as possible, with our help. We don't do it for you, but with you.

Together, we ensure that everyone within the organisation feels heard and learns to see the benefits of data-driven work. Our multidisciplinary teams help you not only to envision it, but also to actually do it.

Contact us

Do you want to formulate your data strategy and make it part of the daily practice within your organisation? We are happy to help you from data (strategy) to action.

Schedule a meeting directly or use our handy one-pager to convince your colleagues.

This is an article by Eiske

Eiske has been a consultant at Digital Power for over 7 years, the first years of which with a focus on data analytics and the last few years on data strategy. She helped develop a standard way for us to help clients set up a data strategy. In our client projects, she fulfils the role of strategy consultant and project manager.

Eiske Jensma-van der Lei

Data Analysteiske.jensma@digital-power.com

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