While big data continues to make headlines everywhere, many companies have little to show for their large IT investments in it. For every new big data technology solution there appear to be numerous lessons learnedstories. The biggest reason organizations struggle with data is they often aren’t taking advantage of the data they already have and investments in huge new data warehouses don’t transform bad data into good data. The problem is data utilization, not a lack of data.
Many organizations seek to exploit data available from internal and external resources using approaches from traditional IT projects. Traditional IT projects focus on building and deploying technology on time, to plan, and within budget. That’s certainly what works for business process improvement projects and technology refresh projects, but when it comes to extracting insights from data to make better decisions, organizations need good data rather than just big data.
In prior blog posts we’ve talked about how organizations across Business and IT need to look beyond large IT projects. At xOverTime we believe enterprise spreadsheet performance is a good way to think about managing data in a better way to improve data utilization.
Before you jump into your next data project, it’s definitely worth it to first define the data strategy for your organization. To create a data strategy that will drive effective data utilization, you’ll need to first answer these 5 key questions:
- Who generates essential organizational data? These are the Data Owners.
- Do these resources know they are the Data Owners and are they empowered to share data?
- Who needs and uses organizational data? These are the Data Consumers.
- What frequency do Data Consumers need data refreshes?
- What is your organization’s view of data? Is data primarily designed to ensure compliance or is data designed to support business objectives around growth and efficiency?
Once you’ve established a framework for your organization’s data strategy in place, it’s possible to take steps to optimize data utilization and impact, rather than just delivering a good IT project that creates more data.
This starts by placing Data Owners, the people who generate essential organizational data, at the center of this effort.
- Separate the initial focus on the data that the organization determines to be essential from any focus on IT systems. Allow teams the freedom to focus on what’s important to the Data Owners and the Data Users with the organization.
- Ask the Data Owners and Data Users who they want to interact with the data. Center this effort around how people look at problems and how data can help solve these problems.
- Introduce a clear separation between data inputs, algorithms and data outputs, and you’ll be able to show data owners and data users how they’ve taken the first step on a data governance strategy.
In all this, worry more about addressing the business goals and business problems rather than just deploying more technology or increasing the amount of data.
Taking an approach that’s based on knowing your data strategy to support your next data intensive project will help lead to good data outcomes.
Looking for ways to improve your data with enterprise spreadsheet performance? Send your questions – we’d love to help.