In order to develop and launch a successful enterprise data and analytics strategy that addresses the pain points of an organization it is necessary to understand the business, including the skills and roles of everyone who works with data, from business executives to business analysts to data scientists, according to Wayne Eckerson, president, Eckerson Group, a consultancy and research firm focused on data and analytics.
Eckerson presented a workshop titled, “Build Actionable Road Maps for Data and Analytics,” at Data Summit 2022 which is taking place May 16–18 at the Hyatt Regency Boston.
Many Data Summit 2022 presenters are also making their slide decks available for download at www.dbta.com/DataSummit/2022/Presentations.aspx.
During his 3-hour presentation, Eckerson offered a data strategy overview; shared key elements of a current state assessment; detailed how to craft future-state frameworks for program management, data architecture, self-service, data governance, and DataOps; and concluded with a sample data strategy designed for an Eckerson Group client.
The idea of a 5-year plan is no longer viable, Eckerson emphasized, noting that the pace of change now is so great that by the third year you would have to start over anyway.
To measure and drive success, an actionable road map is needed, with each phase focused on being lean with a business impact. A data strategy should start with an assessment of the current state, and follow through with a strategy to get to the future state, a blueprint for the design, the build process with pipelines identified, and ultimately result in value with measurable success metrics.
Why Do You Need a Data Strategy?
Companies need data strategies to avoid a “quagmire.” Specifically, what they want to avoid are data silos, data inconsistency, poor data quality, technical debt, and high costs/low value. IT organizations need to strive to deliver more value than costs, and to do that, a data strategy is required, said Eckerson.
A data strategy helps to optimize data operations, manage risk, support business strategy, and optimize the business. “Without a data strategy, you can get completely lost,” he said.
Elements of Data Strategy
Eckerson noted that the priority should be squarely on people and process before technology. It is important to understand the business and be able to talk in the language of business, rather than talking about schemas, architecture, and code.
In addition, it is critical to know your stakeholders since these are the people who are going to support or sabotage the project, and also know their allies and antagonists. It is also vital to identify compelling use cases by asking businesspeople what they are worried about, and what keeps them up at night. Think right to left, not left to right; work backward from the business to systems to the data and not the other way around, Eckerson stressed.
When going into a data strategy project, 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
A Road Map for Data Success
To succeed with data today, you must have one foot in business and the other in the IT world, straddling both, said Eckerson.
In summary, Eckerson told workshop attendees, a data strategy gives you a roadmap for success and should encompass people, process, technology, and teams. It is not just a data architecture.
The keys to data strategy success are:
- Making it business-driven
- Knowing your people and culture
- Building support for change, from the top and bottom