Data Strategy & Digital Transformation

Posted in: Technical Track

Our previous post discussed how data governance is an enabler when implemented early and aligned with data strategy initiatives. The application of data strategy priorities as part of our data governance programs ensures teams can deliver high-quality and trustworthy data.

Data strategy is how we leverage data to positively influence business objectives. A data strategy is your organization’s anchor point for planning investments in data, systems and people. The most impactful data strategies explore data availability and how we can reinvent business processes using data to provide richer and more impactful journeys for employees and customers.

Digital transformation is the application of new technologies to our organization to fundamentally change how we operate. Digital transformation initiatives often focus on new technologies for improved workflows and automation powered by data. Other initiatives focus on creating a mobile experience, creating applications that allow people to work anywhere and minimize the human touch points necessary to build, deliver and service our products. Digital transformations are always about applying technology and organizational change to educate people, re-structure organizations and create new feedback loops associated with new processes and methods.

As organizations embark on more effective use of data in conjunction with the application of new technology, we will begin to see overlapping areas between data strategy and digital transformation. Often, this manifests through the digital transformation teams identifying new data required to feed and operate new applications and systems.

The other often-seen dimension is the feedback loop. The addition of new technology will drive feedback from field teams and other employees about the usability and quality of the data and interfaces provided. Our data strategy must encompass the idea of ongoing improvement to hear and respond to this feedback.

Digital transformations can often be long projects spanning multiple years and crossing all aspects of an organization. Making informed decisions that your organization can measure for later evaluation is essential. In doing so, you can apply your investments in the most impactful places, and agile implementation plans show incremental results as expected. Our data strategy must include presenting dashboards and other actionable information about how our digital transformation projects are tracking against plans and objectives.

Many digital transformation initiatives start with a focus point of automating previously manual processes and decision points. A well-aligned data strategy that provides ready-to-consume data products, analytical model-driven recommendations and self-service access tools can significantly accelerate the automation of business processes and allow visibility into methods to simplify workloads. These are often the most significant wins for cost savings and speed to market. Still, they can be the most challenging organizational transformation initiatives due to the number of people impacted that must be trained and re-structured.

Companies including Netflix, Apple and Google have set a high bar for consumer expectations with digital experiences. They deliver a large amount of data compellingly and enable the user to engage in complex transactions, each building off of previous engagements. These experiences often serve as the catalyst and inspiration for digital transformation initiatives. These initiatives drive high expectations of our data strategy to deliver large quantities of enriched and high-quality data that can be used to create compelling and personalized experiences.

Our data strategy and digital transformation initiatives are not separate projects but rather highly interconnected organizational priorities. The goals of our digital transformation initiatives will feed the prioritization and investment decisions we make as part of our data strategy. Our ability to showcase the value of our data strategy initiatives often manifests in the real-world capabilities built and rolled out as part of our digital transformation initiatives.

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About the Author

VP Analytics
Joey Jablonski is VP of Analytics at Pythian, he leads strategic engagements assisting customers in developing their data strategy, defining and executing on data governance programs and building analytical models to power the modern data-driven organization. Prior to Pythian, Joey was VP of Product at Manifold, where he brought a product mind-set is part of all engagements—allowing for delivery of value quickly in any project, and building over time to drive adoption of new data-centric capabilities in an organization. Joey led engagements across industries including high tech, pharmaceuticals and for the federal government. Before Manifold, Joey held executive leadership positions at Northwestern Mutual, iHeartMedia and Cloud Technology Partners. He brings 20+ years of experience in software engineering, high performance computing, cyber security, data governance and data engineering.

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