Having a carefully crafted data strategy is now more important than ever before; with so much data being produced every hour and a vast array of tools available to use it to your advantage, it’s essential that your whole team is on the same page.
With this in mind here are the steps you need to take to put together an effective data strategy for your company.
First… Why It’s Important
There are several reasons why a data strategy is becoming so essential for today’s businesses. Firstly, it allows your company to be as agile as possible, and this is vital given that it’s those who are able to change and adapt are the ones that make it long-term.
Having a data strategy is also important when it comes to making better business decisions. Relying on gut instinct may have been acceptable once upon a time, but with such detailed insights now available it makes sense to lower your risks before committing to new plans.
Finally, a data strategy can also help you to cut costs. Monitoring data such as sales and outgoings over a period of time can enable you to spot patterns that can ultimately help you to increase your revenue or lower your expenses. For example, you might establish that you sell more at certain times of the year, or selling to an industry you hadn’t been targeting previously.
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Building Your Data Strategy
Now we’ve established why you should be putting together a data strategy, let’s explore the steps you need to take to do just that.
1. Determine Your Goals
Establishing exactly what your business goals are is important because it helps you to form a detailed strategy, and also to decide what types of data you need to be focusing on. While having access to a range of data can be good for giving you a detailed picture, it can also overwhelm your team.
For example, if you’re expanding your business to target Malaysian paper companies, it’s better to collect only the most relevant data. This would include things like the industry total revenue, number of companies in the niche, market share of the top companies etc.
2. Find the Right Data
With so many sources of data available it’s important to find the right ones to give you enough information to make informed decisions. This should include external sources; there is a broad range of extremely useful insights available from social media, for example.
3. Make Cross-Department Sharing Easier
Each department within your organization will collect, create, store and manage their own datasets, which can become a problem when it comes to sharing the data with other departments in the company. In order to prevent these ‘data silos’ becoming an issue, it’s important to encourage transparency within the whole organization, for example by including everyone in emails and using internal platforms to share relevant data.
4. Integrate Wherever Possible
In order to keep your tools and systems running as efficiently as possible, you should integrate the data as much as possible. This will not only allow you to access it much easier and to use it across all of your data stacks, but it will also allow you to use tools for automation. These types of tools will enable you to hand over much of your manual tasks to your computer, freeing up more time for you and your team to focus on more important jobs.
5. Encourage a Data Culture
In order to develop an effective strategy and to ensure your team stick to it and adapt it according to your changing needs, it’s vital that you establish a data-driven culture across the whole organization.
As Amy Palmer, the Content Marketer at Global Database mentioned in her recent interview,
“There are several ways to go about doing this. Firstly, it’s important to create opportunities for your staff to develop professionally and learn new skills so that they feel comfortable using new systems and also to ensure you keep up to date. It’s also imperative that you monitor the trends within your niche as well looking to sources such as professional organizations in order to determine what technologies you need to adapt and also to help you find top-tier data talent.”
Finally, when it comes to seeing data as an asset within your organization, you should always aim to lead by example by demonstrating how you utilize data in your own working day and allow for data-driven decisions. This will give your team more confidence when it comes to their own data-lead activities and will make them feel comfortable working autonomously with different data types.
6. Protect Your Data
Having the right tools and systems in place to protect your data, including that belonging to your customers, is extremely important nowadays. Not only will this give you much less chance of suffering a cyber-attack, but it also ensures you’re compliant with data laws and regulations, for example, GDPR.
Staying up to date is vital when it comes to remaining compliant, as new regulations are introduced, so your strategy should be nimble enough to adapt accordingly.
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7. Keep Testing
In order to make sure your strategy remains as efficient and successful as possible it’s important to regularly test it in order to determine what’s working and what isn’t. The overall aim is to have the capacity to rapidly and productively collect valuable data that will then enable you to keep on drawing accurate conclusions.
Building an effective data strategy is now extremely important given how vital data has become to businesses, and will continue to be in the future. Without crafting a well-designed roadmap for exactly how you’ll use data to help reach your goals, you run the risk of losing sight of your objectives along the way and there won’t be a unified approach to data and its use across your organization.
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