Crafting a Data Strategy for Success at Data Summit 2023

In an information economy, data is the currency of business. Digital upstarts are disrupting every industry, making it imperative that organizations have a strong data strategy that turns data into insights and profitable activity.

At Data Summit 2023, Wayne Eckerson, president, Eckerson Group, discussed “Constructing Your Data Strategy: A Business And Technical Foundation For Success” during his workshop session.

The annual Data Summit conference returned to Boston, May 10-11, 2023, with pre-conference workshops on May 9.

Organizations need data to streamline operations and reduce costs, to improve decisions and plans, and to grow revenues and profits. A data strategy is an enterprise-wide plan to harness data and analytics to achieve business goals.

At a high level, it is a blueprint for creating a data-driven organization; at a low level, it is a set of blueprints for designing a data architecture to acquire, transform, and deliver data to business users and applications.

A data strategy is comprised of a three- year roadmap and budget that details the data architecture, data and analytics portfolio, enterprise data model and flows, and governance, Eckerson explained.

A conceptual data strategy includes optimizing the operating model, modernizing data architecture, deploying data governance, standardizing development, and improving self-service.

“Doing self-service is not easy, it takes the right organization, the right tools, the right processes,” Eckerson said. “Underlying all of this is change management. Your primary job is change agent.”

Ultimately, it’s about figuring out the return on investment of the strategy and getting buy in from executives at the top, he explained. However, this isn’t always easy to measure.

 A data strategy is a communications vehicle to show how data helps the business to get buy-in. Communicate with department heads to show how data supports their area and, importantly, talk to your team so you’re all on the same page, Eckerson said.

A business plan should include:

  • Mission, vision, values
  • Goals and objectives
  • Critical success factors
  • Key stake holders
  • Target customers
  • Success metrics
  • Roadmap and priorities
  • Initiatives and tasks
  • Budget and plans

The data strategy should be refreshed annually or after a major change, he recommended.

While putting together this strategy, teams should identify use cases and build them out to reflect what the business needs, along with the tools required.

According to Eckerson, when crafting a data strategy you should:

  • Know your business
  • Know your culture
  • Know your users
  • Know your team
  • Know your analysts
  • Know your architecture
  • Know your pain points
  • Know your capabilities

Many Data Summit 2023 presentations are available for review at