In today’s digital economy, it’s essential for companies to have a data management strategy. But where should you start? What goals should you set? And who should drive the change? OpusCapita takes a look.

Organizations run on information. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that information is more important to an organization’s survival than cash. Because a company flooded with cash will still eventually hit a wall if unable to manage its business-critical data.

Information flows into and out of an organization in various data streams, with the streams becoming ever more complex as data is generated, received and modified using different devices and applications. Therefore, just as an organization needs to have processes to manage its present and future cash flows, so too does it need a strategy to ensure the information required by its core and support processes is available and accurate at all times.

From current state to target vision

So how do you begin making sense of this picture?

As with any strategic planning initiative, you should start with an understanding of the current situation and a vision for the target state. If an organization does not have a clear picture of its data management capability – down to the process level – it needs to carry out a thorough analysis of its inbound and outbound data streams. This assesses the maturity of an organization’s data management capabilities, and determines a realistic basis for the vision it has of its data management capabilities three to five years down the line.

Following this assessment, guidelines for the data management strategy itself are drawn up in the form of a development roadmap. This work acknowledges the organization’s current data management maturity level, and defines the actions, investments and learning processes required to achieve the target state. The roadmap must include clear and achievable milestones that serve as checkpoints to ensure the organization is on the right track, and that empower the stakeholders involved in the change process.

Staying the course

The journey from the current situation to the target state requires not only financial investment, but also the commitment of the whole organization – beginning with the company leadership and the owners of the data management process. The vision itself must be set at a realistic level, as setting unachievable goals inevitably leads to wasted resources and disenchantment.

Finally, as the introduction of a new data strategy is essentially a change management initiative, information sharing is critical. From the very start of the implementation there must be a clear communication plan that encompasses all the data management processes involved, with stakeholders whose commitment is essential to the success of the strategy kept in the loop through structured and frequent messaging.

 

Amir Hassan 2012Amir Hassan has over 10 years of experience in management consultancy with a strong competency in business process analysis, modelling and development using the Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) standard. In his previous consultancy work Amir has helped clients align their processes with their business strategies and redefine their strategy to deliver better processes. Amir has worked with clients from various industries, such as manufacturing, construction, healthcare and professional services.