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Data driven ready step 1 - Strategy

As with all business development initiatives, you will need a thought-through strategy to be successful.

The strategy work is important to ensure buy-in from concerned functions in the organization, establish objectives and to align the initiative with the overarching business vision. With a thought-through and anchored strategy, you will significantly increase the chances of success for your initiative and ensure that potential obstacles can be identified before you start your brand new initiative.

With defined targets, it is also possible to establish KPIs that can be monitored through the process to ensure that the initiative will meet its objectives over time. This is generic best-practice for basically any larger business development project.

So what is unique when you embark on a journey to become data-driven and which considerations do you need to take into account for this specific kind of initiative?

Establishment of a vision

First of all the strategy work includes establishment of a vision for how data should be used in the organization as a whole, such as; metric definitions, business processes to support, technology choices and data ownership. This vision of course needs to be aligned with the corporate vision and the Data driven strategy should contribute to the overarching objectives of the organization.

Establishing a formal strategy for how to become Data driven, and getting buy in for this strategy from decision makers or sponsors in your organisation, increases chances of ultimate success for the initiative. Becoming data driven means, amongst other things, that different teams needs to adjust their business processes to include the new data components. 

If this is not aligned with said team there is a higher risk that the business processes will not adopt the new data components or will not be optimised for them.

Supported by management

A well defined and written strategy supported by executive management gives you something to back up your resource allocations and prioritizations. It also makes it easier to get support from the rest of the organization and access to important internal (and maybe external) resources. 

A data & analytics based initiative that aims to improve business processes, is often a cross functional effort. Where for example Tech or Product teams needs to contribute with data access, explanations/documentation and potentially some additional development.

Representatives from the business processes to be supported, also needs to contribute with their domain & process knowledge in order to ensure that scope, definitions and process fit is done in a good way. 

As with all major business development initiatives, management support is key to success. A strategy that is supported by management is one key step to succeeding with your Data driven project. 

Simple and easy to understand KPIs

The strategy should contain the long term goals for the initiative, but it should also be divided into shorter term targets that can be followed on a more continous basis. Ideally these shorter term targets can be grouped into KPIs that are easy to understand and to follow.

Maybe you can increase the visibility into your initiative and create a ”winners mentality” by quite openly (within your organisation) displaying these KPIs to create understanding and buy-in from different parts of the organisation.

You should also make sure to celebrate success and make some noise when you meet targets and KPIs. This will create some ”fuzz” in the organisation and your initiative will be recognized. This creates momentum and it is easier to allocate resources for an initiative that stakeholders believe is successful, and everybody wants to be part of success.

With more people onboard and committed you also increase chances of success, so this sort of works both ways. We can share ideas on KPIs that out of experience can be good to show progress in an initiative like this. 

True buy-in and support

It is also important to define who ”owns” the datadriven ready strategy. Experience from numerous digital transformation initiatives, within different areas over the past years, have taught us that it is extremely important to have true buy-in and support from top management.

This is why you should ideally make sure that the Datadriven strategy is owned or at least has strong support from someone with a CXO title. This is key to the success of your initiative. You will further need to define in your strategy who will be responsible for the data (meaning undefined vs centralized vs data mesh).

The details of this could be explained in a workshop. The strategy should also include a vision or target for what we intend to achieve with the initiative and what kind of business benefits it will bring. A well written and thought-through Data driven strategy is in sync with the overall business vision and mission.

The strategy could very well also include some targets in terms of deadline and when it is expected to deliver. It is always good to have a little bit of a stick also to motivate resource allocation and setting targets for when the initiative will deliver on its promises and objectives. 

More information

Redpill Linpro is launching our Data driven ready model in a viral way by releasing a series of blog posts to introduce each step in the model. This is the second post in this series. Below you will find a little ”sneak-peak” into the different steps of the model. Stay tuned in this forum for more information on how to assure Data driven readiness....

Data driven model
Written by Fredrik Svensson