Welcome to the Lights On Data Show, where today we delve into the topic of data strategy pitfalls. Joining us is Dora Boussias, an esteemed expert in the field of data strategy. Dora has an impressive background in IT and a deep understanding of the critical role data plays in organizations. Let's explore the three pitfalls she highlights and learn how to navigate them successfully.
Data Strategy Pitfall #1: Data Strategy is all about the Data
Data strategy should be centered around the business rather than solely focusing on technical aspects. While it's essential to have a strong foundation in data management and best practices, the ultimate goal is to drive business success. Data should be leveraged to enable business growth, enhance customer experience, streamline operations, reduce costs, and mitigate risks.
To overcome this pitfall, it is recommended to cultivate curiosity and ask relevant questions. Get to understand the business side, its goals, successes, and challenges. At the same time, build strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders in order to better understand business objectives and align the data strategy with the business, accordingly.
By understanding the purpose and impact of data initiatives on the business, you can contribute more effectively. Actively engage in meetings, shadow key individuals, and study effective communication techniques to better articulate and listen to business requirements. Gaining a solid grasp of the fundamentals of your industry and your organization's specific goals will help you navigate this pitfall successfully.
Data Strategy Pitfall #2: Data Strategy mostly IT
A common misconception is that data strategy falls solely within the realm of IT. In reality, successful implementation requires a collaborative partnership between IT and business functions. The technical capabilities need to be combined with the business expertise. This is essential for sustainable data strategy implementation.
Both business and IT need to work together to define and execute the data strategy. While IT provides the necessary technology and best practices, the business side brings domain knowledge, functional expertise, and accountability. Teams focused on data governance and information architecture also play a critical role in establishing guardrails and facilitating effective collaboration. By embracing this partnership and valuing each other's expertise, organizations can overcome this pitfall and achieve successful data strategy implementation.
Here's a quick tip, always put together a well-defined RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) matrix, to get a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities and establish effective collaboration.
Data Strategy Pitfall #3: Underestimating the Importance of People, Culture, and Organizational Change
Establishing your data strategy, engaging stakeholders throughout that journey and ultimately having a data-driven culture is vital for long-term success. But this is a process and this process introduces change. In order to guide the organization through change, change management efforts should focus on creating awareness, clarifying the "why" behind data strategy, and actively involving people from various teams, regions, and divisions and reward them for it.
Implementing data strategy requires a collective effort to replace old habits and embrace new ways of working. Effective change management involves fostering better stakeholder relationships, promoting cross-functional collaboration, and speaking a common language across projects and teams. Leadership plays a crucial role in setting clear expectations, facilitating communication, and driving adoption of data-driven practices.
Organizations should prioritize change management efforts alongside technical implementation to ensure the success and sustainability of their data strategy. And this needs to start on day one. Recognizing the central role of people and investing in their engagement and development will help overcome this pitfall and maximize the benefits of the data strategy.
By being aware of these three common pitfalls and following the above recommendations, organizations can navigate the complexities of data strategy more effectively. Remember, data strategy is ultimately about enabling business success, building strong partnerships, and embracing a data-driven culture. By avoiding the pitfalls of solely focusing on the technical aspects of data strategy, understanding the importance of collaboration between business and IT, and prioritizing people, culture, and organizational change, organizations can position themselves for successful data strategy implementations.
Lastly, as the data landscape continues to evolve, it's crucial for organizations to adapt and leverage data effectively. By staying informed, investing in continuous learning and its people, organizations can stay ahead of the curve and drive innovation through their data strategies.
About Dora Boussias
Dora Boussias is a business data and technology leader with deep domain expertise in data, analytics, enterprise architecture and digital transformation; accustomed to walking the line between Business & IT, comfortable with driving change at global organizations, focused on making meaningful impact to the organization and its ultimate beneficiary, be it patient or customer.
Leading with authenticity, empathy, inclusiveness and resilience, strives to drive trusted partnerships to define, design, and implement cross-functional solutions that balance strategic direction with pragmatic needs, simplify processes, boost operational efficacy, and bring timely, relevant, high quality data for the right business decisions.
Currently and throughout most her career in leadership roles of enterprise-wide reach, Dora has had the opportunity to make an impact with her work at global organizations such as Stryker, GE, and Prudential. Her 25+ year career includes exposure to Financial Services, Healthcare/Medical Technology, and Retail.
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/doraboussias
“Data strategy is really not about the data - It is about the business.”
- Dora Boussias