The stats show that while many businesses have access to vast streams of customer and business data, most aren’t putting it to use effectively. The Harvard Business Review reports that, on average, most businesses only use about 50% of their structured data to inform decision-making and only about 1% of unstructured data. This means most are missing powerful potential insights and business growth, without any clear path to change.
So, how does a business use data in a smart, thoughtful and effective way? As with almost anything in business, you get the best results if you have a plan — so it starts with a data strategy. This lays out not just how you’ll collect and manage your data, but how you’ll organise, analyse and make use of it.
Developing a strategy also helps you define the ‘why’. What’s the goal of gathering and analysing all this data? Is it about protecting your business from compliance issues, internal leaks and exposure?
Traditional approaches around data governance and data strategy are all about what we do 'TO' data and how it is protected, whereas the modern approach do a data strategy is "what do we do 'WITH' data?".
This approach, sometimes called defensive data management, is often used by financial institutions.
An offence strategy, on the other hand, focuses on leveraging data to improve customer communication, boost sales and raise revenue.
There’s no one right way to tap into your data — it’s about defining your goals and laying out the steps to help you get there.