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What Is Data Strategy?

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data strategy

Data Strategy describes a “set of choices and decisions that together, chart a high-level course of action to achieve high-level goals,” according to DAMA’s Data Management Body of Knowledge (DMBoK). This approach includes business plans to use data for a competitive advantage and support enterprise goals. Having such a blueprint to align decision-making and activities around data assets makes it invaluable.

Data Strategy requires an understanding of the data needs inherent in the Business Strategy. According to Donna Burbank:

“It’s the opportunity to take your existing product line and market it better, develop it better, use it to improve customer service, or to get a 360-degree understanding of your customer. Data Strategy is driven by your organization’s overall Business Strategy and business model.”

A Well-Developed Data Strategy Has:

  • A strong Data Management vision
  • A strong business case/reason
  • Guiding principles, values, and management perspectives
  • Well-considered goals for the data assets under management
  • Metrics and measurements of success
  • Short-term and long-term program objectives
  • Suitably designed and understood roles and responsibilities

Other Data Strategy Definitions Include:

  • “A pattern in a stream of decisions.” (Peter Aiken)
  • “Aligns and prioritizes data and analytics activities with key organizational priorities, goals and objectives.” (CDO LLC)
  • “A coherent strategy for organizing, governing, analyzing, and deploying an organization’s information assets that can be applied across industries and levels of data maturity.” (Harvard Business Review)
  • “Concepts of standards, collaboration and reuse applied to data to support improved accuracy, access, sharing and reuse.” (SAS)
  • “Intentional action and prioritization plan to:
    • Harness and integrate data
    • Create and disseminate information/intelligence
    • Advance a business mission“ (Stony Brook University)

Data Strategy Use Cases Include:

  • Bringing analytics, Data Governance, and Information Architecture together by launching a Data Strategy at a global food enterprise
  • Building a Data Strategy to ensure consistency among agencies across the state of Oregon
  • Implementing a Data Strategy at Cummins to put clean, manufacturing data in one place
  • Refreshing a Data Strategy to keep up with changes in business needs at Freddie Mac

Businesses Develop a Data Strategy To:

Image used under license from Shutterstock.com

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