Why do you need a data strategy?

Deep Learning Cafe
On a high level, data strategy entails creating a strategic plan to use data in an intelligent way to achieve business objectives. It is important to understand that a data strategy is not about collecting as much data as possible, but rather about collecting the right data to achieve your business objectives.

“As business leaders we need to understand that lack of data is not the issue. Most businesses have more than enough data to use constructively; we just don’t know how to use it. The reality is that most businesses are already data rich, but insight poor.” – Bernard Marr


Identify Business Objectives

Collecting substantial amounts of data is costly, time consuming and adds no real value.
Prior to commencing with the thought process around data collection it is important to firstly identify your companies business objectives. This task is undertaken in order to understand what is important and what unanswered questions the organisation may have.
Identifying business objectives has a lot to do with the type of business the company is involved in. Most business’s will gain value from using data to improve decision making as a first step and thereafter move over to operations or treating data as an asset. Once you have identified the area of your business you want to improve upon, the next stage is to compile a list and prioritise the business questions you want answered. An example of such a question would be, how do I reduce customer churn by 10%? The next step is to identify the data that would be needed to answer those questions.


Collect data

Advances in big data technologies means that you are no longer restricted to data neatly stored in a database in tabular form. Data can come from many different sources, in many different sizes and formats. Some data you will collect yourself, other data will come from public records, social media, purchased or streamed from sensors. You will then have access to all the data collected in a centralised data pool. Data tells a story, with the right data you can obtain a 360 degree view of your business or customers.


Data strategy as a platform to launch Machine Learning

Data strategy lays the foundation to launch other innovative smart technologies.

“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” – Peter Sondergaard, Gartner Research

For Machine Learning to be successful, quality data is required. By executing a robust data strategy you will ensure there is quality data to feed your ML projects. By gathering and analysing the right data, your business will gain a competitive edge and increase in value.

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Dries is the founder of the Deep Learning Café. Designing AI and cloud strategies, supported by tools and processes, is at the core of his daily endeavours towards achieving AI excellence.