Understand the Business of Your Big Data Strategy
Understanding your organization’s main business initiatives is vital to successfully identifying the data, supporting decisions, use cases and analytics, along with the fundamental architecture and technology requirements you need to accelerate your big data strategy.
Simply put, you must understand what’s important to your organization, why it’s important and what the desired business outcomes are, before you can transform your business through a big data strategy, or before that strategy can be declared a success.
Oftentimes organizations make big data an IT project, rather than a strategic business initiative that takes advantage of the power of data and analytics to drive their business models. Unifying business and IT perspectives ensures that both are positioned as leading voices of an organization and allows for a business-led, technology-enabled approach for internal operations and partner/vendor collaborations. If comprehensive insight and organizational benefits are to be gained, the business strategy itself must incorporate big data. In order for that to occur effectively, a few tasks should be considered and completed:
Identify Your Supporting Use Cases
Not only are you looking at the areas of your business that could highly benefit from a big data initiative, you also want to identify those areas where the value may not be as high, or where there are potential implementation risks.
While business potential and implementation risks are key factors in a use case’s viability, each case should also be tied back to your organization’s financial goals and assessed against their financial impact. This can provide you with a Return on Investment (ROI) estimate that helps you determine which areas of your business would be most impactful to start your big data journey.
By prioritizing your most effective use cases and focusing your big data efforts in their direction, you stand a much better chance at receiving a quick ROI and a successful strategy launch.
Gain Executive Buy-In
Executive buy-in is essential to the overall success of a big data strategy, but this is especially true when there is an importance placed on experiencing that success more quickly.
The more engaged and connected your C-suite is with your big data strategy, the better your chance for success. They must understand what a big data adoption can do, what its benefits are, what investments are required to maximize returns and where big data will best add value to the organization’s bottom line.
But the buy-in can’t come from just the CIO or CDO. To ensure success in adoption or acceleration of your big data strategy, it’s important to gain active sponsorship from all C-suite leaders, who must align organizational assets, investments and plans with your strategy.
Prioritize Cultural Adoption
Those C-suite executives and senior stakeholders must also make it a priority to drive cultural adoption of a big data strategy across your organization. Not doing so can lead to organizational change resistance and if perpetuated, an eventual failed big data initiative.
Organizational alignment of vision and guidance on how to effectively leverage big data ensures that different groups within the organization view data-related capabilities with consistency, which reduces operational cost, optimizes performance and increases the chance for early strategy success.
It falls to executive leadership to not only execute changes to organizational culture, but also to reinforce the strategy and to remain aware of and remove barriers, hurdles, obstacles and blockers to drive a rapid, successful transformation and increase the chance for a quick ROI.
One of the easiest ways to reinforce organizational devotion and support of a big data strategy is to regularly communicate wins and recognize strategy champions for the efforts. On the other hand, a lack of communication can actually slow or delay progress by reinforcing that the business-as-usual of the past is satisfactory.
Another way is to accurately define key metrics and success criteria and make them well known across the organization. This also helps minimize confusion or misinterpretation by reinforcing the consistency of how data initiatives are measured, evaluated and tracked.
Taking Full Advantage
By understanding your organization’s main business initiatives, you can utilize a big data strategy to identify valuable business insights that can help improve the outcomes of those initiatives by:
- Accelerating and understanding business innovation
- Transforming business processes
- Proving out your use cases
- Providing advanced visualization of your business data
- Identifying new revenue opportunities through data analysis