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Data Strategy Trends in 2023: Toward Organizational Alignment

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Any organization making data decisions should have a Data Strategy, a set of choices that chart a course of action to achieve high-level goals. In 2023, many business leaders will shift toward reframing their strategy to manage their data better.

Over the past few years, most companies have managed data sporadically, resulting in a disjointed Data Strategy. According to a NewVantage Partners 2022 Executive Survey, only 53.0% of companies have a formalized Data Strategy.

When companies have ineffective strategies, they handle daily tasks less effectively. Data and data processes get duplicated between different departments, and Data Management gaps continue to exist.

Only 30% of companies avoid these pitfalls by having impactful data strategies and coordinating organizational strategies with data strategies. However, this number will increase as better data strategies emerge. 

In 2023, businesses will ask themselves whether their current mode of data operations works. During this process, many organizations will overhaul their Data Strategy to standardize Data Management with their businesses.

These unified data strategies will optimize businesses, leverage real-time analytics, change the culture to work with data better, and handle compliance better. Simplifying strategy messaging, creating  Data Strategy roadmaps, and recognizing Data Strategy as a data leadership component will lead to more substantial organizational alignment.

Optimizing Businesses

A drive toward optimizing business – removing redundancies, eliminating unnecessary manual effort, and growing revenue – will motivate companies to overhaul their data strategies in 2023. Donna Burbank, managing director at Global Data Strategy Ltd., observes that “data-driven business is an impetus for Data Management.” For example, 68% of those surveyed in a DATAVERSITY Trends in Data Management 2022 report want to save costs and increase efficiencies.

Companies need to connect their data strategies to how they do what they do better. Typically, organizations see the number of data silos as a top Data Management challenge in business operations. 

Many will include a data integration strategy to handle disparate data in the organization. This framework relies on building trusted data sets across the organization through disciplines such as Metadata ManagementData Architecture, Data QualityData Governance, and privacy and security.

When companies use an excellent Data Strategy to integrate these different Data Management components directly, organizations come closer to making a single data access point with valuable data. Furthermore, 59% of organizations that developed a corporate Data Strategy have seen success, showing increased business optimization.

Leveraging Real-Time Analytics

Companies must develop their data strategies in 2023 to consider real-time analytics.

At the beginning of 2022, William McKnight predicted that real-time analytics would continue to grow as more Internet of Things (IoT) become available.

Organizations leveraging real-time analytics through their Data Strategy will have a winning strategy. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) estimates that real-time analytics will increase revenue, among six countries, by $2.6 trillion, providing an enormous opportunity for business growth.

However, a significant gap exists in many organizations between achieving valuable insights with real-time analytics and having the means to do so. For example, almost 55% of participants in the previously mentioned DATAVERSITY report that their organization struggled with a lack of Data Governance, a vital foundation guided by a good Data Strategy.

Instead, most data strategies handle real-time data capabilities ineffectively. A Harvard Business Review article explains how two global companies’ current data strategies fall short in this respect. 

The article’s authors suggest that businesses treat data as a product and update their data strategies to meet this concept. That approach focuses on real-time processing data for business insights across the company, leading to alignment along the way.

Driving Cultural Change with a Data Strategy

Business adaptation in 2023 and beyond requires culture building and organizational change. 

However, data managers like USTRANSCOM’s Larry McLean find driving cultural change with a Data Strategy a significant challenge.

Only 19.3% of organizations in the previously mentioned NewVantage Partners 2022 Executive Survey have established a data culture, suggesting that culture hinders data strategies. As Donna Burbank notes, communicating well and working with workers’ underlying emotions throughout the process leads to more success in transforming an organization’s mindset. 

According to Burbank, people-centric initiatives, such as Data Governance programs, should take on increasing importance, and businesses should align their data strategies with their Data Governance initiatives.

As companies update their data strategies, they will coordinate organizational strategies and Data Governance programs, according to Peter Aiken, an acknowledged Data Management authority. Along their journeys, firms will consider how well data strategies work with Data Governance initiatives and how Data Governance can better support organizational and data strategies. 

Handling Regulatory Compliance

As companies continue to see regulatory compliance as a primary Data Management goal, data strategies must enhance this effort. Organizations need to unify their approach to increasing data legislation passed by multiple U.S. states that will become law in 2023.

Kelle O’Neal, the founder and CEO of First San Francisco Partners, observes that data strategies will need updates for Data Governance programs to understand regulatory nuances. O’Neal says, “Data Strategy is still important, but now we’re starting with a clear understanding and establishing some capability.” 

Responding to each data regulation on a department-by-department basis ends up being ineffective. Businesses will modernize their data strategies to include a sovereign perspective, a viewpoint that states have an organized process to regulate data for their benefit. In this context, an organization’s Data Strategy guides Data Governance with a broader approach than getting into all the nitty-gritty details.

Simplifying Data Strategy Messaging

By default, organizations have different data strategies per department, depending on how each division makes data decisions. Even if a company-wide Data Strategy exists, it likely spans multiple pages and ends up gathering dust. 

As Peter Aiken states, “Strategy that winds up on a shelf is not useful.” Companies need a better way to create and communicate their strategies.

So, firms will want to shorten and simplify their Data Strategy messaging. Donna Burbank suggests that an at-a-glance visual, such as a slide in a presentation, often has the most impact. Companies will use this approach to simplify their strategy messaging and convey it better.

Creating a Data Strategy Roadmap

Organizations updating their data strategies will find it helpful to create a Data Strategy roadmap, a step-by-step guide transforming current business processes to desired ones. This Data Strategy roadmap keeps an organization’s members updated, strengthening communication and alignment.

Developing a Data Strategy roadmap requires some gap analysis – mapping the current data environment, identifying components needed for future goals, and the processes necessary to achieve this future. 

Burbank emphasizes that an organization’s Data Strategy roadmap “should tell a story and show an evolution from the current state.” This narrative helps tie corporate workers together as they journey towards becoming more data-driven.

Forming a Crucial Component of Data Leadership

A good Data Strategy links to engagement and alignment among stakeholders. To do so, Data Strategy comprises a necessary component for data leadership; according to Anthony Algmin, founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, the “momentum to create value from the ground up and out to all corners of the enterprise.”

Formerly, a company’s Data Strategy and its implementation lived with the CIO and that person’s IT staff. Today, CIOs and data leaders face an increased demand to access data from everyone in the organization.

This change in 2023 requires a shift in the conversation between IT and business. In 2023, other departments will take a greater interest in the corporate Data Strategy and its updates, wanting a say in any changes. 

Likewise, company senior managers will see data as strategically relevant to the business and shift their strategies appropriately. Instead of applying data strategies sporadically, organizations will apply strategies to “every decision, interaction, and process.” 

Conclusion

Data strategies will undergo an overhaul in 2023, so companies can work more effectively with their data. Organizations want agreement among their different departments about data decisions.

Those who need a formalized strategy must create one to thrive, optimize business processes, get value from real-time analytics, and comply more effectively with regulations. Those with data strategies will need to modernize them in 2023 to ones more relevant to the business.

Alignment between data strategies and organizational strategies and Data Governance remains critical. When workers understand and implement key Data Strategy messaging and its roadmap across the organization, the strategy updates will show increased business profitability in 2023.

Image used under license from Shutterstock.com

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