By Bryan Kirschner, Vice President, Strategy at DataStax\n\nEverybody\u2019s building a data strategy.In October, we surveyed 500 executives and technical practitioners in the United States.\nNone reported that a data strategy was not a priority for their organization.\nThe Home Depot motto is \u201chow doers get more done.\u201d\nIn a recent interview, Fahim Siddiqui, senior vice president of information technology at Home Depot, offered some raw material that\u2019s highly relevant to doing data strategy right.\nIn this article I\u2019ll highlight how what he had to say\u00a0 maps to an analysis we conducted of 35 characteristics of a data driven enterprise. It surfaced five clusters we organized from those currently driving the most business impact with\u00a0 (\u201cleaders\u201d) to those with the most barriers to creating material impact.\n\nMake the most of cloud for data velocity. In response to the coronavirus crisis, Siddiqui and his team were able to widely deploy a pickup solution in two weeks.\n\nOne of the biggest gaps we see between leaders and those lagging behind is the ability to ship data products as fast as apps and scale data with apps.\nTo some extent, this is not a surprise: DevOps is a decade old. \u201cDataOps\u201d promises to do the same for data velocity, but is at an earlier stage of maturity and adoption.\u00a0\nOn the other hand, procrastination at making the most of the cloud is an unforced error.\u00a0 Siddiqui\u00a0 says that \u201ca cloud architecture also was critical to manage a 300% spike in traffic and 80% order volume increase\u2026being on the cloud made it all happen, basically on demand.\u201d\nMost enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. But today\u2019s leaders, like Home Depot, are more likely to have already implemented a hybrid data strategy.\n\nFocus on differentiation. Today\u2019s leaders excel at turning data into revenue by focusing attention on improving operations or enhancing the customers experience.\n\nThe Home Depot buys best of breed software when possible, choosing to focus the attention of its software engineers on \u201cunique challenges in terms of our unique business model.\u201d\nData-driven enterprises get compounding returns from the scope of data, the scale of data, or both. More online purchases,\u00a0 for example, feeds a smarter recommendation engine, which contributes to more online purchases.\nBut it holds true throughout the value chain. Siddiqui\u00a0 describes Home Depot\u2019s delivery warehouses as \u201cunique,\u201d saying that \u201cwe are now able to actually hire an associate and within five minutes they are productive [in] the warehouse, no more training required.\u201d\nCascading the difference between minutes versus hours or days to productivity delivering digitally-enhanced interactions with customers (such as curbside pickup) through thousands of employees feeds a similar virtuous cycle.\n\nMake the most of open source. The world will create more than three times the data over the next five years than it did in the previous five. As the ratio of \u201cdata with which to create value to humans with the skills to do it\u201d multiplies, the opportunity cost of re-implementing something already built explodes.\n\nLeaders are overwhelmingly increasing their use of open source technologies. The Home Depot is all-in, with\u00a0all of its home-grown apps built on open source.\nRead about why data-driven enterprises should feel optimistic\u00a0here.\n\nAbout Bryan Kirschner:Bryan is Vice President, Strategy at DataStax. For more than 20 years he has helped large organizations build and execute strategy when they are seeking new ways forward and a future materially different from their past. He specializes in removing fear, uncertainty, and doubt from strategic decision-making through empirical data and market sensing.