Do I need a Data Strategy?

Is your data an asset to your organisation?
Are you able to produce accurate reporting that can be trusted for making key decisions on the direction of the organisation?
Does everyone treat it as such, probably not!

If you answer “No” to the above I suggest writing a strategy on how you are going to enable your business data to be the asset it needs to be, to manage and grow your organisation.

Where to start?

There are many articles on writing a data strategy, here’s my advice to add to the mixing pot!
What is it you want…Better data quality, maybe
But why?

It is all good to say you want better quality, but what will that quality give the business;
• Increase operational effectiveness by reducing a process by x days
• Grow revenue – Increase sales / leads / customer retention by x%
• Reduce risk – is there legislation coming done the line that you need to prepare for an EU Directive / Have you recently paid a fine or an annual fee that could be reduced if your data was better managed or more accurate. An example here is the Packaging Waste Regulations, if your packaging data is accurate, you can work to reducing your fees instead of estimating and adding a bit for luck
• The Competition, how could you get ahead of the competition with accurate data, products going to market faster than your competitor

Pin down what it is you want to achieve with your strategy. Work on one area at a time, set a sensible time scale for the journey of how people view data as a change in culture. This will take time to embed and need champions to support the change journey.
Some things to consider in your strategy, what you need to identify, how you are going to cure the issue and what are you going to do to look after your data going forward and avoid the same problem reoccurring over time.


  • Where you want to be / Vision
  • Understand supporting initiatives required to achieve this
  • Define how the business will use the data to deliver on the vision
  • What would wow your business/stakeholders/customers/shareholders
  • Where are you
  • Who are we delighting
  • Where are the pain points / challenges
  • Costs; what is the issues costing the business / what could you save / what will be the cost of the project
  • Business Sponsor
  • Support from IT
  • Quick wins
  • Gap or Opportunity analysis, map out results needed / available


  • Obtain Business buy-in
  • Profiling of data
  • Measuring data and your progress
  • Steps to resolve
  • Responsibility
  • Plan
  • Change Journey
  • Quick wins achieved
  • Show benefit


  • Governance Organisation; owners / processes / policies
  • Reporting
  • Metrics – measuring / profiling
  • Business value
  • Meta data repository / Data dictionary

Avoid the following when planning to manage your data:
• Executive sponsorship missing. Without which your cultural change will fail before it gets started
• Not writing a business case to understand what it is that is to be achieved
• Thinking that managing data is a big bang project. It is a journey that never reaches the final destination and requires constant input and work
• No metrics that can measure and demonstrate success. Successful data management is hidden from the business it only becomes headline news when it’s not working
More information can be found in “The 8 worst practices in MDM and how to avoid them” by Information Builders


One comment

  1. […] Create a GDPR strategy, add this to your overall Data Management Strategy with a communications and data quality strand. Advice can be found here on what to consider when creating a data strategy: […]

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