WHAT IS A DATA STRATEGY?
A data strategy is a system that ensures all data resources are positioned in a way that means they can be used, shared and moved easily and efficiently. It ensures that all data is used like an asset – it is no longer just a by-product of processing. A data strategy will provide a common set of goals and objectives, using methods, practices and processes to manage, manipulate and share data across the business.
Identify data and understand it’s meaning regardless of structure, origin or location.
Processing data isn’t feasible unless the data value has a name, a defined format and value representation. All data has these features, whether it is structured or unstructured. Establishing consistent data element naming and value conventions is core to using and sharing data.
Package data so it can be reused, shared, and provide rules and access guidelines for the data.
Sharing data is no longer a specialised technical capability to be addressed by application architects and programmers. It has become a production business need. Businesses are dependent on data being shared and distributed to support operational and analytical needs.
In days gone by, when a request for data came up, an application developer created an extract by either creating a file and dumping that data in it or building a one-off program to support another application’s request. The developer didn’t think about ongoing data provisioning needs, data reuse or sharing. Today, data sharing is definitely not a specialised need or an infrequent occurrence.
Establish, manage and communicate information policies and mechanisms for effective data usage.
Whilst some companies have started to invest in data governance initiatives, most haven’t gotten very far! Governance initiatives start by addressing specific tactical issues and are confined to specific organisations or project efforts. As governance awareness grows, and as data sharing and usage issues gain visibility, governance initiatives often broaden in scope. As those initiatives expand, organisations may establish a set of information policies, rules and methods to ensure uniform data usage, manipulation and management.
Moving forward with a data strategy starts with identifying the strengths and weaknesses that exist within your data environment. We then have to identify an achievable and measurable set of goals that will improve data access and sharing.
The strength of the data strategy components above are that they help you identify these goals within each individual discipline area. Every company has a unique combination of skills and a different set of strengths and weaknesses.
Move and combine data residing in disparate systems, and provide a unified, consistent data view.
At the time of creation, data is raw. It hasn’t been prepared or transformed to make it ready to use. Process is the component of data strategy that addresses the activities required to evolve data from a raw ingredient into a finished good.
A manufacturing process is needed to turn raw data into something that can be used. This is done using a series of small steps that transform, correct and format the data. This is often known as data cleansing
Persist data in a structure and location that supports easy, shared access and processing.
Data storage seems like it should be simple, yet it is actually extremely complex. Most businesses have a means to store data. This bit is simple. It is the gap between this and having an efficient plan or system to share or move data where businesses become unstuck.
As organisations have evolved and data assets have grown, it has become clear that storing all data in a single location is either difficult or impossible. The problem is that the size and distributed nature of our organisations makes loading data into a single platform impractical.
Not every employee needs access to all of the company’s data; they only need access to data that will help them do their jobs.
SO, WHERE DO DPAS COME IN?
With our team of experts, we can help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your organisation and, alongside your team, develop an efficient and bespoke data strategy that will harness your organisations strengths and combat weaknesses.