How important is data to meeting your business goals? 

Businesses that rely on data-driven decision-making are 58% more likely to meet revenue goals compared to their non-data-focused counterparts. For many organizations, the value of data is very clear. But developing robust strategies to leverage that data is a different story.

Data efforts are often complex, technical, and hard to understand. It can be daunting to know where to start and even more challenging to maintain a practical approach that delivers results.

Businesses that can successfully leverage the power of data can discover valuable customer insights into behavior trends or understand and catch potential risks before they escalate. It all starts with the right approach to data strategy.

That’s what we’ll explore today in this article. We’ll walk through what you need to know about developing and implementing a robust data strategy and discover the benefits of working with an experienced data partner. 

What Exactly Is a Data Strategy?

Data is everywhere. Businesses that can learn to leverage data and incorporate insights into their operations have a distinct advantage over those that don’t. It all starts with a comprehensive approach to data strategy.

Unfortunately, this can be an overwhelming undertaking. 

Without the right tools, businesses often create inefficient approaches to data strategy that, at best, create lucky wins and, at worst, leave powerful insights on the table.

So, what is a data strategy anyway? Put simply; a data strategy is the roadmap that outlines how a business collects, stores, manages, shares, and uses data. The right approach should become an essential business tool that always ensures all data-related activities align with an organization’s overall goals and mission. It’s not just about the right tools, though — there’s much more to data strategy than the tech.

It’s also about the people, policies, and processes involved in managing data.

Imagine a ship at sea. While the wind might be blowing and the stars shining, without a compass, a map, and an understanding of celestial navigation, the ship will coast aimlessly without a proper heading. While it might reach the right destination by sheer luck alone, it’s not an approach you can count on.

Without a robust data strategy plan, businesses are much like this ship lost at sea. While all the information they need to move forward and develop critical insights is all around them, they just don’t have the knowledge or tools needed to take the first step.

What Are the Key Components of a Data Strategy?

Make no mistake, a robust approach to data strategy is complex. There are a lot of moving pieces, from non-negotiables like data governance to optional but invaluable beneficial aspects of a strategy like data visualization efforts.

To help you understand these complexities, and build your own approach to data strategy, here is a closer look at some essential elements:

  • Data Governance: establishing clear policies and processes that ensure data is consistently managed and maintained across an organization is critical to ensuring security, quality, privacy, and compliance of all data efforts.
  • Data Storage and Accessibility: data needs to be stored safely and securely so it’s easily retrievable and accessible. This could be on-premise or in cloud-based storage systems.
  • Data Analysis: a critical data process is turning raw data into actionable insights. Data analysis uses statistical models, machine learning, and other analytics tools to uncover trends, patterns, and correlations in business datasets.
  • Data Visualization: raw data can be close to impossible to understand for non-experts. Data visualization uses things like graphs and other visual aids to tell a story with the data and help stakeholders understand the trends within them.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: finding insights is only part of the process. Businesses need to create a culture that values data and incorporates those insights into everyday decision-making. 
  • Data Software: there are plenty of tools out there that make executing a data strategy easier. This could be data management and analysis tools, business intelligence software, data integration tools, and much more.
  • Data Professionals: a data strategy is only as good as the people implementing it. Businesses should partner with qualified data specialists like data analysts, data scientists, and data stewards who have the know-how to tackle these complex tasks.
  • Data Security and Compliance: data security and compliance are non-negotiable. Organizations must implement robust cybersecurity measures and monitor and manage data correctly to meet regulatory standards.

Each of these elements interact with each other to create an effective data strategy that helps your Kentucky or Indiana business grow and develop a competitive data-driven advantage.

How to Get Started with a Data Strategy

With our understanding of what it takes to develop a comprehensive data strategy in hand, you may be wondering how your business can get started getting the most out of your data.

Well, you have two options:

  • Building and hiring an in-house data team
  • Outsourcing to a data advisory service

First, let’s explore the process and benefits involved with hiring an in-house team. These teams can involve several data disciplines, including analysts, engineers, scientists, and others, depending on your specific business needs. 

While this approach to data strategy can give a business more control and customization options, it requires a significant amount of investment. Not just in terms of resources but time as well. Recruiting, training, and retaining a skilled data team is a huge commitment, especially for small to medium-sized organizations.

With so many businesses looking to acquire talent to increase their data-driven decision-making, research suggests the demand for data professionals, analysts in particular, will likely outstrip the available talent for years to come.

Alternatively, your business can choose to outsource your data strategy to an expert data advisory service that specializes in the complexities of analytics. This approach can provide your business access to a team of experienced data professionals who already have the knowledge and tools necessary to develop and implement an effective strategy.

Most data firms offer a range of services, including data governance, analysis, and visualization, among others.

For most businesses, especially those just embarking on their data strategy journey, partnering with an experienced data team can prove the most beneficial option. Not only does it offer immediate and unparalleled access to data expertise and advanced tools on day one, but it also frees up time and resources so your organization can focus on other core operations while still benefiting from data-driven insights.

How to Get Started with a Data Strategy

Developing and implementing a comprehensive approach to data strategy is essential to running a modern business. It’s not enough to collect data. Organizations need the right tools and knowledge to extract insights that help support and reach enterprise-wide goals and aspirations.

Without the right tools and expertise, all that raw data is virtually useless — leaving valuable business insights on the table.

To make the most out of the data strategy development and implementation process, your business should consider partnering with a data analytics service. The right strategic partner can help your team create robust approaches to data that drive critical decision-making while staying safe, secure, and compliant.

LBMC’s data analytics services provide businesses of all sizes with the tools and expertise they need to make sense of complex datasets. From data governance to visualization, let our team of data experts help your business navigate the complexities of a robust data strategy while staying true to your needs and business demands.

For more information on LBMC’s data services, be sure to connect with an advisor today.