An effective data strategy: Key to business success and enhanced decision-making

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South African companies need an effective data and analytics (D&A) strategy and operating model if they are to stay ahead of global competition.

By David Kempe, Business Manager: Data and Analytics at Decision Inc. South Africa

It is no secret that technological advances are accelerating competition, but today more so than ever before local companies are competing on a global scale. The time for businesses to unlock the full potential from their data has never been this critical. Companies able to execute effective data and analytics strategies will not only be able to make better decisions based on accurate data, but it will enable them to recognise and create data-driven business opportunities that they need to thrive.

These opportunities entail identifying and prioritising the decisions needed to improve an organisation through the application of decision intelligence practices. These can include the likes of decision modelling. A company can also incorporate technologies like data fabric, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI). Of course, if leadership is to benefit from this, they must first establish a connection between D&A and business value creation.

Succeed by making D&A a primary business initiative

A recent survey done by MIT Technology Review Insights revealed that 43% of organisations that thrived during the past two years of uncertainty have a full-fledged data strategy. Highlighting just how important D&A initiatives are to prevent business failure.

There is no doubt that prioritising D&A initiatives around business value can be challenging to implement at a company. However, an effective data-driven enterprise has a vision that provides a connection between D&A and the company’s business purpose. As is evident by the events of the past two years, this purpose needs to be expressed in terms of customer value. In doing so, a company can benefit from competitive advantage through lower costs, quicker time to market, increased revenue, improved customer satisfaction, and greater differentiation.

Why you should get your data strategy right

The components driving the right data strategy in a modern organisation are:

  1. Making data and analytics instantly available to all, for all purposes (availability for utility).
  2. Using D&A, the business can enable the right decisions daily (data is the perfect enabler).
  3. With D&A in place, a company can identify business opportunities (data is a key opportunity driver).

From a utility perspective, a single source of truth is crucial. In this way, a company can mitigate against the risk of duplicating its efforts or having employees be unsure of which source of data is the correct one.

Data as an enabler can help guide the decision-making process to improve the customer experience, increase sales, and enhance operations. This can mean anything from predicting what customers are likely to buy next or how long it will take them to complete a purchase through personalising marketing messages based on previous purchases or online behaviour.

The third component, data as a business driver helps the organisation identify opportunities which others might miss due to not looking at all the right places or asking questions with enough depth or frequency. At a time when competitors change quickly based on their own experimentation with new business models and products, every organisation must react quicker than its peers if it wants to stay ahead.

The next steps: enabling an effective data strategy

We have extensive experience in working with different business stakeholders at large companies to identify, prioritise, and select the D&A strategy needed to collectively align the required investments. These encompass data, analytics and technology, organisational infrastructure, and go-to market capabilities.

Having an effective framework becomes vital to optimise the structure of the D&A value proposition within your organisation. This helps a company assess critical success contributors and inhibitors (risks). It also provides a more efficient way of identifying the capability gaps an existing strategy, operating model, and roadmap must fill to realise the expected value.

It is best to use insights from a company’s own model to refine its D&A strategy and operating model. Specific attention must be paid to the priorities and dependencies that can address any of the gaps that have been identified. By doing so, a company can dramatically increase the likelihood of being able to successfully deliver the intended business value. For instance, the initiatives designed to reengineer business decisions.

A successful D&A strategy aims to optimise the combination of D&A initiatives to ensure the portfolio delivers the highest net business value spent for an organisation’s strategic business focus and for a given investment level. This is where our value adds as specialist consultants come in, as we have helped our clients around the world realise this business focus through the development of a comprehensive D&A strategy.

To get started with the development of your D&A strategy, contact us today. Click here to find out more about our extensive D&A offerings.