Written by Will Aitkenhead
Posted on 25/11/2015

Do you have a data strategy for your organisation?

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Producing a data strategy has never been more important for organisations of all shapes and sizes. With the digitalisation of the business environment continuing at an ever quickening pace there is so much data to consider and incorporate. From web pages to purchases, everything is recorded and identified, which gives you an exceptional insight into customers.

What data should be collected?

This is the first thing you need to establish and it will vary from business to business. Too many companies try to collect every piece of data without actually breaking it down and establishing what is important to their needs. Identifying and referencing content as well as searching for appropriate subjects and data elements allows you to work out which tools and methods you need to benefit the business.

You also need to establish how long you keep the data for. This will help you to break down the data and work out what is important and helpful. Report usage will determine what analyses and sources are no longer relevant. Just as you would have a clear-out of your fridge or cupboard to get rid of any out-of-date food, you need to do the same with data.

Where do you store the data?

This is another time for tough decisions. Some data needs to be accessed quickly and other aspects many not be so time dependent. You need to establish what can be archived and where to archive it. You can use on-premise storage or cloud-resident storage. If you decide to use a cloud based storage system then make sure you establish your rights to the data in case the vendor goes bankrupt. It’s also important to back up your data regularly for the same reason.

Where and when can the data be accessed?

This is an issue that involves practicality and legality. Make sure you set appropriate security levels for all of the data so that only those who you want to see it can access it. If you operate across different countries you also need to ensure trans-border issues don’t stop you accessing the data. Some countries impose restrictions on the amount and type of data that can be transmitted across borders. Check that you and your cloud vendor are not breaking these regulations.

Download our 'From Big Data' to 'Smart Data' infographic

 Use data visualisation effectively

Virtual data warehouses give you the chance to access data in real-time and without high storage costs. There are risks to this though as sourcing data from multiple sources can become inaccurate. But this process does allow you to transfer data that was established before organisational data standards were created so that they meet these requirements.

Data before process

A lot of the issues raised involve strong management and responsibility, so you need to make sure you have the team in place to manage your data strategy effectively. Introducing a Chief Data Officer can be an excellent way of dealing with an environment that is becoming ever more data-rich. This role involves not only assessing the potential analysis but also viewing things from a client’s position.

Many people argue that finding the right data is far more important than having the processes in place. So to bring the whole thing full circle, you need to establish what data will be collected first before you can successfully launch your data strategy.