By Mark Sontz -
By 2025, the amount of data generated every day by each person is expected to reach 59.5 megabytes, which equates to a globally eye-popping figure of 463 exabytes1 – that’s 1 billion gigabytes.
Photos, spreadsheets, customer notes, order invoices, network flow data, inventory numbers—if your organization doesn’t know how to handle the torrent of data flowing through it, it is guaranteed to be missing out on opportunities to introduce new products and services, streamline business operations, and attract and retain customers and talent.
The frequency at which data is generated has immensely accelerated, and on-premise data centers cannot cost-effectively scale to store and process data at this rate of growth.
So how does an organization wrap its digital head around this much data without becoming overwhelmed or busting their budget? The answer lies in a well-thought-out data strategy which is aligned with your cloud strategy.
What Is a Data Strategy?
A data strategy, according to Gartner, is a purposeful employment of your organization’s resources, talent, and technology2 to consolidate, organize, analyze, and leverage your data in support of your business goals. In other words, a data strategy creates a plan for how your organization will collect, manage, and use data to drive business decisions and deliver value for your customers. Because many organizations use cloud resources to help store and process their data, it is important to ensure your data strategy aligns with your organization’s cloud strategy.
Armed with a well-defined data strategy, your team will have a roadmap for how data will be used to:
- Gain insights and make data-driven decisions more efficiently.
- Better understand your customers to identify ways to improve customer experiences and increase revenue streams.
- Optimize your processes and empower everyone in the organization to turn data into action.
- Gain a competitive advantage by aligning your data management program with your business goals and cloud strategy.
- Plan investments in cloud resources to meet current and future business needs.
Key Elements of a Data Strategy
Like any other strategy, your organization’s data strategy will lay out the policies, procedures, standards, goals, and resources that will be used to govern and execute your data and its use. While there are several different approaches to developing the individual pieces of a data strategy to meet your business goals, the following are the key elements that should be given particular attention:
Alignment with Your Business Strategy
To make informed business decisions, it is essential to have a data strategy that aligns with your overall business strategy. By documenting how business drivers are impacted by data and analytics, you can ensure not only that your data strategy is aligned with your business objectives, but also that your team will have the information needed to make improvements and sharpen its competitive edge.
Data architecture is the foundation of your data strategy. It outlines how your company collects, stores, organizations, shares, and uses data. While organizations typically think about and plan for their data storage needs in their cloud strategy, it is also important to consider the processing and connectivity speeds your team will need to take action on your available data. Data acquisition and processing needs occur at the speed of business (e.g., real-time, stream processing, bulk/batch).
These requirements can then help to inform the technical elements of your data architecture, such as the best use of data lakes, warehouses, operational databases, and file systems in the cloud or on-premise, the governance rules to ensure the appropriate data is collected and stored, and the required integrations with business applications and data.
Data Management Guidelines
Data management guidelines are crucial to the success of your data strategy because they help to ensure that the available data is accurate, complete, consistent, and secure—and that it can be used effectively3 to support business operations and decision-making.
When properly defined, data management guidelines should be able to provide answers to key questions such as:
- What data is appropriate?
- What data operations are approved?
- What is the purpose of data storage and collection?
- What is the data governance policy for business processes?
- What is the lifecycle of your data?
- What insights can you get from your existing data?
Why Your Cloud Strategy Needs to Align with Your Data Strategy
Aligning cloud and data strategies can help organizations better leverage the benefits of cloud-native technologies, such as serverless computing, containerization, and microservices. Alignment also helps organizations to better leverage their cloud services to support their data analytics, machine learning, and AI initiatives—and to ensure that the right data is available to the right people at the right time. The cloud provides elasticity and auto-scaling to handle periods of peak processing without needlessly overcommitting resources which would otherwise sit idle.
Similarly, effectively aligning your cloud and data strategies helps you to identify and prioritize your critical data assets—whether to ensure that they are adequately protected against cyber threats and data breaches or to meet compliance requirements. This alignment can also help to ensure that your business is able to deliver data to systems and tools that fuel customer applications faster or assist in personalizing their experience based on past behavior
Over a longer timeframe, alignment also allows your organization to more effectively plan for major product, service, or structural changes, including which types of cloud services are needed for which reasons and the associated budget or resource factors.
Unlock the Full Potential of Your Data
No matter how robust your organization’s data strategy is—whether you’re just beginning to sketch it out or if you’re looking to optimize it to match an evolving operational environment—RCG has a deep bench of experts ready to guide your team through each phase of the process and assist in aligning it with your business drivers and cloud strategy.
Ready to learn more? Click the button below to request a meeting to discuss how RCG can help your organization develop a data strategy that works for you:
1. Seed Scientific (2021, Oct 28) "How Much Data Is Created Every Day? +27 Staggering Stats" Retrieved from https://seedscientific.com/how-much-data-is-created-every-day/
2. Gartner "Data Strategy" Retrieved from https://www.gartner.com/en/information-technology/glossary/data-strategy
3. AWS "What Is Data Strategy?" Retrieved from https://aws.amazon.com/what-is/data-strategy/