Bulletproof your data strategy from the business side

Oct 19, 2021 - 3 minutes to read

Bulletproof your data strategy from the business side

E. Wallace By E. Wallace

The conditions for strong, data-driven decision making don’t come only from IT. The business side also needs a plan to ensure that data becomes a central part of business operations and that they don’t unknowingly tie the hands of their best innovators. C-suite and other decision-makers should take confident and forward-thinking steps towards crafting a bulletproof data strategy in partnership with all stakeholders and IT expertise.

Why the business side matters

Bulletproofing a data strategy from the technology side is critical to business survival. However, a truly data-driven organization also receives support from company decision-makers. Bulletproofing a data strategy from this angle includes several spheres:

  • Managing culture
  • Investing in the right technology
  • Taking an active role in shaping policy
  • Adapting to disruption

The C-suite can no longer get by without understanding the current state of data science. A truly bulletproof strategy will require IT talent as well as the support and vision of major decision-makers within the company. Business leaders and decision-makers can take these three steps to ensure a bulletproof data strategy from the business side.

Encourage exploration

As companies open up data to stakeholders, a certain amount of exploration can foster the types of questions that make data analysis great. Encouraging team members to explore data pays dividends:

  • Error spotting: Glancing over datasets, especially new ones, could uncover anomalies or outliers in the data that might skew results.
  • Better questions: Exploring data might also open up the types of questions that could lead to better decision-making and innovating.
  • Data familiarity: It may take a bit of time before departments feel comfortable with data analysis, but encouraging exploration could help them learn to look for insights.

Team members can build skills and learn to ask questions that benefit the company. Everyone can also learn their way around available data and get comfortable turning to it to make decisions and collaborate intelligently.

Rethink governance

The old way of handling governance meant that data stayed locked behind strict security protocols. Departments asked questions or requested data insights and waited until IT could return with an answer. The only other place with the kind of data access IT received was the boardroom, which made it difficult to foster a data culture. Unlocking data posed too great a risk, which meant companies left valuable insights undiscovered.

Today, companies need data in real-time to facilitate data-driven decision-making across the enterprise. With the next era of granular governance control, decision-makers can approach governance at the atomic level. They can free data for stakeholders without risking its integrity or security.

A data fabric, for example, allows proactive management of data without setting onerous restrictions. It offers decision-makers the chance to create efficient security policies and to maintain observability. Attribute-based security controls also keep data flowing while maintaining GDPR and CCPA compliance.

Foster collaboration

Collaborative intelligence is a necessary part of fostering the data culture that allows great analysis to thrive. Once decision-makers open their data up, IT can collaborate with sales and marketing, for example, on initiatives to improve customer retention, or with the product team to gain better direction for a proposed product update.

There are a few necessary steps to advance collaboration:

  • Respect (and trust) autonomy: The C-suite can’t expect collaboration if it doesn’t trust its stakeholders with the data they need. Departments should be able to ask questions and answer them without unnecessary interference.
  • Identify leaders: Leaders within departments can help lead collaboration efforts and encourage buy-in for any new technology products. These are different from managers; they’re people who are comfortable with data and ready to shift to data-driven decision-making.
  • Connect technology: Business units are often closed off by their specialized tools and solutions. However, people can’t collaborate if technology is siloed across different departments, including unmonitored shadow IT. Create a connective tissue of data, and collaboration naturally follows.

Collaborative intelligence sparks a great deal of innovation because it taps into the expertise of the team. Data is theoretical until it comes in contact with experience, and collaborators can ask better, deeper driving questions and explore data for insights that might have been missed.

Supporting the IT department’s bulletproof data strategy

As data becomes a more integral part of the entire organization, business leaders can support tech initiatives by opening up the company to collaboration and freeing up data for stakeholders. Allowing team members access to the data they need in real time, investing in tools that knit together all the different technology solutions and data sources, rethinking governance and security — all of these things enable business leaders to create an environment of innovative data analysis. The insights generated will be a competitive differentiator and allow a data-driven business model to emerge.

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