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Three Little Known Factors That Dilute Your Enterprise Data Strategy.

Today’s enterprise data is critical for the success of traditional companies, i.e., those enterprises whose business models are not digital.

The trail that business processes leave over time, is the very data which enterprises must manage for various growth and regulatory needs.  All this of course, calls for the right data strategy. However, many traditional organizations are likely to struggle, with their data strategy articulation and the execution.

Here are three reasons for this struggle:

1] LACK OF AWARENESS

About eighteen months ago, a Chief Data Officer (CDO) of a traditional bank, was wondering why a data strategy is required for him to perform his new role.  In fact, the executive was convinced that the focus only needs to be on data governance related strategies and nothing else. Yes, no analytics and no big data! Sounds, familiar?

There was a sense of reluctance to even consider anything thing beyond just data governance, that too, the only the elements considered ‘mandatory’ from a regulatory perspective.  Enabling growth did not stand a chance in the CDOs agenda.

This indeed is lack of awareness of the value that could be derived from a sound enterprise data strategy.

2] LACK OF CAPABILITY

In certain cases, there is adequate expertise in the enterprise as well as an acknowledged awareness that a data strategy is required.  However, the sheer pressure of the business environment renders the organization incapable of any meaningful action.  A sense of uncomfortable ‘status-quo’ persists, while waiting for external factors to trigger an initiative.  An example is a large organization waiting to prepare for an IPO or a capital raise. Traditional companies under this category, perhaps have industry leading expertise on matters related to data strategy but they lack the capability to develop and deliver the data strategy, which by the way happens to be time sensitive.

3] INCORRECT APPROACHES

Articulating and executing a relevant data strategies is great, but may well be catastrophic if the wrong approach is adopted. Without the correct strategy, data is only a ‘potential asset’.  When, mishandled it erodes massive value in the form of opportunity costs.  This would typically run into billions of dollars and this includes the potential hundreds of millions of dollars in misspending.

If you happen to carry the unfortunate fate of a CEO, CIO or even a CDO or an organisation, that neither has an awareness, capability nor the ability to execute the right data strategy, there is still hope as in any ‘turn-around’ situation.

Since, 1955 more than four hundred of the Fortune 500 companies have disappeared.  At the same time, Johnson & Johnsons, Wells Fargo and General Electric, companies that were all founded in the 1800s still manage to be in the top list of most valuable companies in 2016.  The only thing that is common between them was that they had a data strategy that helped them transition into the digital age.

While traditional companies that ignore their data strategy are doomed, there always are those super stars that fight their way up to the top.

Let’s just hope that there are more super stars in the coming years.