Ten steps to building a successful data strategy

Alistair Sergeant
Alistair Sergeant

In today’s information-driven world, organisations must recognise the value of data and the potential it holds to drive success. Nevertheless, building a successful data strategy is about more than just implementing the right technology and tools. It also requires effective goal setting, clear process analysis, ongoing change management and a commitment to continued development. As experts in overseeing digital success, here are our top ten tips for developing a solid data strategy guaranteed to produce results.  

Set clear goals

Start by defining your objectives. What specific outcomes do you want to achieve? It’s important to align your data strategy with your broader organisational vision if you are to ensure it supports your overall mission without presenting additional challenges.  

Assess your current data

Evaluate your organisation’s current data landscape and be honest. This involves identifying all data sources, systems and processes you currently have in place, in addition to understanding the quality, availability and reliability of any existing data. You will then need to identify any gaps or limitations that need to be addressed before you can achieve your data goals.  

Establish governance

Establishing a governance framework, in which roles, responsibilities and data management processes are clearly defined, is also essential. If organisations are to succeed with their data strategy, they must define clear data ownership, think about data stewardship and implement compliant data-quality standards. Moreover, they must establish policies and procedures for secure data access, thinking about privacy and compliance in the process. This framework will serve to ensure that your data is managed effectively and consistently throughout all departments in your organisation.  

Set KPIs

Before you begin making digital changes, we also recommend defining key metrics and performance indicators that align with your objectives. These metrics will help you to measure progress, such that changes can be made to improve outcomes before your strategy fails. Ensure your metrics are measurable, actionable, relevant and, most of all, aligned with your strategic goals.  

Develop your data infrastructure

Once you’ve done the groundwork, it’s time to assess your organisation’s data-infrastructure capabilities and identify any gaps. Consider factors such as data storage, data quality and data integration, as well as looking into data governance tools. It’s important to determine whether your existing infrastructure can support your data strategy or if upgrades and new investments are required before you move forwards.  

Plan your data architecture

After implementing any necessary changes, you will need to design a data integration and architecture plan that allows seamless data flow across your systems and departments. This is essential if you are to make true use of your data and prevent inefficient siloes. Consider the use of data warehouses, lakes and pipelines to consolidate your data and don’t forget to ensure that your different sources and systems are compatible.  

Quality data management

The quality of your data is of paramount importance, which is why you must implement processes that guarantee both adequacy and integrity. Establish core data management practices that include data cleansing, data validation and documentation, in addition to implementing quality controls and working on your data governance processes to maintain accuracy, consistency and completeness.  

Build your data analytics capabilities

Organisations truly looking to make the most of their data must also develop the analytics capabilities required to derive valuable insights. This includes leveraging tools such as data visualisation software, business intelligence platforms and advanced analytics techniques like machine learning and predictive analytics. Consider the skills and resources required to support these capabilities, as well.  

Establish a data-driven culture

One of the most important steps towards driving data success is fostering a data-driven culture within your organisation. Encourage your employees to embrace data-driven decision making and provide them with any necessary training to boost their data literacy, as this will help to ensure that they get on board with any digital changes rather than clinging to legacy systems that will only slow your progress. Training can also help to promote data awareness, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing across departments, as well.  

Monitor, measure and iterate

Finally, it’s fundamental that you continuously monitor the performance of your data strategy and measure progress against the metrics and KPIs you defined. Regularly assess the efficacy of your data strategy and make adjustments as needed, ensuring you stay up to date with emerging technologies and evolving industry trends in the process.  

Remember that building a successful data strategy is an ongoing process. It requires organisational commitment, continuous improvement, and the ability to adapt to changing business needs and technological advancements.  

In face of any uncertainty, we recommend partnering with change management experts like the team here at Equantiis. Not only will we be able to assist you in everything from initial goal setting to identifying any necessary technologies, but we are also experienced in preparing educational workshops for your team and keep you accountable in your progress. 

For more information or to book an initial consultation, contact a member of our team today.

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More about the author

Alistair Sergeant
Alistair Sergeant CEO

As CEO of Equantiis, his main focus is on strategic leadership and growth within the business whilst working through new opportunities that support this. Alistair manages client relationships so that they can benefit from his experience and knowledge. He thrives on leading a disruptive business that works with business leaders to identify and overcome complex business challenges, with cost certainty and transformative outcomes. Alistair is passionate about anything outdoors. Including running, camping and travelling with the family.