How to Develop a Data Strategy Roadmap for the New Year

Published on
17/01/2024 10:26 AM
data strategy roadmap

With many aspects of business operations online, companies can access large amounts of data. If this data is used correctly, organisations can make critical decisions faster. They can foster customer trust and loyalty by improving customer satisfaction. Data also helps companies work more efficiently, thereby increasing their revenue. 

Despite this vast access to data, many organisations still struggle to reap the rewards of a data-driven landscape. 

A survey of 1,500 global business leaders revealed that about two-thirds (68%) of data available to companies is underutilised. That means a significant amount of valuable information is being wasted.

Technological advancement means organisations will have access to even more data. As a result, companies need a data strategy roadmap to utilise the data available to them appropriately. 

What is a data strategy roadmap?

A data strategy roadmap is a framework that outlines the steps an organisation will take to achieve its data-related goals. It includes the strategies for data collection, storage, analysis, governance, and utilisation to drive business outcomes. 

With a data strategy roadmap, organisations can synchronise data initiatives with business objectives. It enables them to track progress, measure success, and allocate resources effectively. A data strategy roadmap also ensures that all relevant people and departments are involved in developing data-driven initiatives. 

The importance of a data strategy roadmap for the new year

A data strategy roadmap enables organisations to manage their data effectively. It provides a clear and actionable plan for how companies should manage data, outlining the steps to collect, manage, and utilise data to achieve organisational objectives. 

Beyond providing direction and focus for data-related efforts, this roadmap serves other vital purposes, including:

Aligning data management efforts with business objectives

Defining your organisation's data goals is crucial in developing a strategy roadmap. As a result, it aligns your data management efforts with your business strategy. 

Improving decision-making

A data strategy roadmap provides a blueprint for collecting, managing, and analysing data. This enables organisations to make better business decisions based on data. For example, when agents can call a phone number from computer terminals integrated with a customer relationship management (CRM) system, they can quickly access customer data. As a result, they can personalise interaction and provide better service. 

Enhancing efficiency and productivity

A data strategy roadmap can improve efficiency and productivity by optimising data management processes. A strategic roadmap can include a detailed evaluation of available data processing frameworks, storage solutions, and tools like Hadoop clusters, data lakes and data warehouses. 

For instance, Hadoop clusters can speed up the processing and analysis of big data, but they are not the best for real-time analytics. With these guidelines, organisations can make informed decisions quickly, improving operational performance. 

Providing a competitive advantage

An optimum data strategy roadmap can gain companies a competitive edge because they can use their data assets more efficiently. 

Ensuring compliance

Beyond assisting with implementing compliance and regulatory requirements like HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA, a data strategy roadmap also helps you use modern technologies ethically. 

For instance, it provides guidelines for ethical data labelling in machine learning (ML) models to prevent bias and encourage responsible artificial intelligence (AI) development. 

7 steps to creating a data strategy roadmap

Building a data strategy roadmap takes time and resources. But it is worth it in the end because your organisation is better placed to utilise data effectively throughout the year. 

1. Establish your goals

The first step is to identify how your data management efforts align with the business goals. Assuming your organisation is looking to manage costs. In that case, you’ll detail how the data strategy can improve cost visibility, streamline processes across the organisation, and lower data storage and processing costs. 

Perhaps the goal is to better manage the data from eCommerce platforms. That means you’ll describe how the data strategy can ensure efficient collection and analysis of data from these platforms. 

2. Assess your current data infrastructure

The next step is a comprehensive assessment of your existing technology stack, including your data architecture, data management component, and storage technology. 

Use multiple graphs and charts to visually represent your data architecture. Within the data strategy roadmap, one chart should illustrate the various pathways data follows as it enters, is processed, and stored. 

This way, you can understand the capabilities and costs of the current stack and upgrade according to the organisation’s data strategy. 

3. Define key performance indicators (KPIs). 

Now, you need to determine the metrics that will be used to measure the success of the organisation’s data management efforts. 

You’ll use the key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the effectiveness of the data strategy roadmap throughout the year and make necessary adjustments. Examples include the percentage of scope completed, data value enabled, monthly engaged data users, or employee satisfaction with data accessibility.

4. Get executive buy-in

According to 71% of Chief Data Officers (CDOs), getting C-suite buy-in is among their top three challenges. This is a significant problem because, without their support, your program won’t succeed. Getting their backing means you can access the resources you need and the cooperation of other stakeholders. 

So how do you convince C-suite executives to support your data strategy roadmap for the new year? 

  • First, align your data strategy with the wider business strategy. Explain how your data strategy roadmap will help the business achieve its goals. For example, communicate to them how data strategy can improve operational efficiency and revenue. 
  • Identify specific goals that your data strategy will help achieve. For instance, you can set a six-month goal of reducing customer churn by 10% to increase customer retention. 
  • Maintain buy-in after launch by measuring your progress at each stage. Regularly review KPIs, such as churn rate and customer satisfaction scores. 
  • And finally, provide training resources to build data literacy and encourage leadership to actively participate in the program by contributing ideas. 

Your main purpose at this stage is to give C-suite executives every reason to agree by clearly stating the business value of the data strategy

5. Develop and implement a data governance framework

data governance framework is a set of guidelines that directs the implementation of data governance in an organisation. It should provide a clear visualisation for maintaining the quality, security, integrity, accessibility, discoverability, and usability of your data assets. 

To develop a data governance framework, identify your data assets and stakeholders. Define roles and responsibilities for data governance, including data owners, stewards, and users. The framework should also outline data classification, documentation, validation, and retention processes.

Once you’ve developed data governance, implement it across the organisation. This may involve training employees on data governance practices, implementing tools and technologies, and establishing regular audits and assessments.  

6. Integrate data tools and technologies

Your data strategy roadmap needs the right tools to succeed. Consider the specific needs of your organisation and choose tools and technologies that align with your data governance practices. 

Some common data tools and technologies include:

  • Data visualisation tools such as Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, and Qlik Sense
  • Data storage platforms like Apache, Hadoop, and MongoDB
  • Data analytics tools including tools for data mining such as Presto, Rapidminer, and Apache Storm
  • Data management and integration platforms such as SAP BusinessObjects and TIBCO Spotfire
  • Data governance and security tools which includes tools for data governance, metadata management, data cataloguing to ensure data quality and security

Having the right tools and technologies is one thing, but you also need the right personnel to maximise them. As a result, you may have to hire people with specialised skills. In some situations, you can train current staff to acquire the necessary skill set. Encourage users to employ orchestration to maximise productivity and efficiency when handling complex tasks. 

So, what is orchestration? Well, it involves coordinating and managing several computer systems, applications and services to link together multiple tasks to complete a large workflow or process. These processes may involve multiple automated tasks and multiple systems. 

7. Implement, review, and adjust

If you’ve followed the above steps to the letter, you are now ready to implement your data strategy roadmap. At this stage, you’ll build and maintain data infrastructure, collect, store, and manage data, and analyse and leverage data for decision-making. 

You’ll also assess roles and talents, fill necessary gaps, build governance processes, define an operation model, and develop a communication plan. Regularly monitor and measure performance, identify improvement opportunities, and adjust accordingly. 

Utilise advanced technologies, like machine learning (ML) at this stage to automate various processes and improve efficiency. For example, different types of machine learning models can learn and adapt from new data. This is crucial for creating a roadmap that can evolve based on changing data trends and business needs throughout the year. 

Prepare for success with a data strategy roadmap

We will undoubtedly see more technological advancements in the new year. From generative AI to quantum computing, green tech, and platform engineering, many companies will have access to even more data. 

But it is the businesses that utilise this data appropriately that will win in the new year. 

A data strategy roadmap ensures your organisation is better placed to harness that data and make informed decisions quickly. So, use the steps provided above to create your data strategy roadmap for the new year to stay competitive. 

However, note that a data strategy roadmap is not a static document. Continuously review and revise it to ensure that it remains aligned with your business objectives. This may require redefining priorities, modifying resources, and altering timelines as necessary.


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