What are the basic elements that make a data strategy successful and executable?

Mike Gustafson, president of business intelligence and analytics company Search Discovery, recently gave his take on the four elements of an executable data strategy that achieves useful integration of data and analytics.

Gustafson, speaking at a recent event on the internet of things and the customer experience, said that while the process may seem simple, his company sees businesses struggle time and again — and many are not yet even interconnecting basic data sources within their companies.

The four basic elements of an executable data strategy, according to Gustafson, are:

A focused vision. What is the vision for how data will impact the business?

Identify and articulating a desired outcome, rather than simply implementing a tool and collecting data and figuring out later how to use it.

Understand what it will take. Gustafson cited three modern data problems that companies often stumble on: dealing with existing data silos, some of which are technical and some of which are “political” in terms of whether different segments of a business are willing to share their data; a lack of trust, in terms of people within a company not necessarily wanting data to be revealed, particularly if it reflects poorly on their part of the company; and data literacy, or a lack of understanding in the workforce about metrics, tools, appropriate use of data and what data is needed to solve specific problems.

Chart your course. “Don’t try to tackle everything at once,” Gustafson advised. “Try to narrow your view, especially if you’re still struggling with today. Just pick one thing and figure out, ‘how do I build off that?'”

Watch Gustafson’s presentation below:



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