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The Data Journey – How to get moving?

Gartner and other major analysts estimate that data is becoming more valuable than ever. Their studies show that by the year 2022, 90 per cent of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information as a critical enterprise asset and analytics as an essential competency. But how to get there, when the reality in early 2020 is something very different?

Most companies simply don’t know what data they have, where it lays, and who owns it. And ‘master data’ is still a swear word, because so many master data projects have cost millions and ended in failure.

So how to get started on the Data Journey?

I present you with a 3-step approach towards becoming a data-driven organization:

  1. Select your most relevant cases – and start with those
  2. Choose and create your platform and way of working to scale, and start building capabilities
  3. Change your culture through communications and educational programs such as a data leadership academy

Let’s look at these three steps in more detail:

1. Select your battles

All transformations have a need to show quick wins. So does this one. Thus, it is wise to select easy and quick cases first to build up the trust in your organization. Of course, these cases are not the big wins, since those are almost always more challenging and take more time.

This starting point is a great opportunity to bring business and IT to the same table. The selected cases should be owned by business units, and they should create measurable value to the business. The IT is building the cases utilizing best practices and scalable ways of working.

Again, Gartner predicts that by 2022, 30 per cent of CDOs will partner with their CFO to create value for the organization’s information assets, and to improve information management and the benefits it brings.

2. Choose your tools, technologies, and operating model

When you start building your platform, selecting your technologies and bringing your data available, keep your selected cases in mind. All the time, keep building the capabilities through your selected cases.

Build your chosen capabilities (tools, processes, and people combined) in the order that supports your strategy in the best possible way. The capabilities will give you a possibility to scale your solutions.

When you have built an environment for data and analytics for one case, you will very soon find new similar cases – and you can copy the approach and therefore speed up the innovation.

3. Make sure that cultural change is taken seriously

Data and analytics are showing results and proposals for people all through the organization, so the ultimate step to gain new value is to change the organizational culture.

To be able to use data in our everyday work, we need to understand the possibilities around it. We should also understand the limitations of data, like the fact that AI solutions are never 100 per cent correct, but they give you the most probable result with a certain accuracy.

When understanding the possibilities and limitations of data, people can make their decisions in the best possible way. So, the implementation of the new solution is at least as important as the solution itself. No change in behavior means no change in business.

Gartner’s prediction on this is that by 2023, data literacy will become an explicit and necessary driver of business value, demonstrated by its formal inclusion in over 80 perc ent of data and analytics strategies and change management programs.

Data is not about the result, it’s about the journey. So, crystallize your strategy and start moving!