In a recent blog—Identify High Value Opportunities on your Transformation Journey—I wrote about how each organization's path is tailored to their own initiatives, and that the first step regardless of industry or business line, should be to Identify high-value opportunities to exploit analytics on all types of structured, unstructured and real-time data. Once that's done, where should you go next?
Where the "Identify" step created the "master list" for realizing the data and analytics benefits, the "Establish" step will start building on that plan, starting with your most pressing needs. And the first thing you want to do is to define your data and analytics strategy—all with keeping the business outcomes in mind.
I think of it as a "constitution" for your data and analytics efforts—your beliefs, your policies, your standards—and a set of guiding principles. In my opinion, its primary purpose is to gain consensus across many different quarters of your organization so that you're all moving in the same direction. Thorny issues like "who leads?", "who needs to approve?", "who supports the efforts?" are best discussed upfront to avoid challenges and hiccups later. And like other "constitutions", it can and must be amended as conditions change. Nothing is forever.
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For many, they want to jump right in start building. It's a natural reaction. Executing on proofs of concept (POC) is a necessary activity. But it's also not the first thing you should do. Consider the following actions that begin to flesh out the POC
There is lots of external content you can tap into to help you develop this strategy. Some examples include "How to Craft a Modern, Actionable Data and Analytics Strategy That Delivers Business Outcomes" by Gartner analysts Mike Rollings and Frank Buytendijk, and "Build The Digital Intelligence Strategy That Will Match The Speed Of Your Customers" by Forrester analysts Cinny Little and James McCormick. Both require subscriptions to access.
Remember that tapping external expertise—partners with experience solving data and analytics challenges—can help ensure the right strategic direction earlier, with greater certainty. Many organizations I've spoken with over the last few years have had great success working hand-in-hand with partners big and small to assist them through the process. Their wealth of experience over years with other customers in specific lines of business and/or industries can give you the benefit of collective wisdom that will accelerate your efforts.
Establishing the right strategic framework for your business and IT lets you plan. Setting a strategy at this point gives structure to your efforts. Of course, this structure can't be rigid and unchangeable; it must be flexible enough to adjust and change based on what you uncover as you prove out your plan. That's the next step.
Let me know your thoughts and leave a comment below.