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By Ishit Vachhrajani
“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts—for support rather than for illumination.”—Andrew Lang
When it comes to the data, it is culture first and capability second. In my previous post, I talked about how executives can create a data-driven culture in their enterprises. In this post, I am going to dive a little deeper to share my learnings for the leaders who are charged with building data capabilities to help drive that culture.
Start With the Questions Being asked, Not by Bringing “All of the Data” In
If we look at some of the most expensive enterprise project failures, spending years and a ton of money in building enterprise data warehouses or data lakes probably ranks only second to large ERP implementations. While the cloud has significantly reduced the time to market and the cost of storing, processing, and analyzing data at scale, it is important that data capabilities start with the business outcomes rather than the data sources.
To build your data capabilities, start by listing the questions being asked around the company. Look at how frequently these questions are being asked; within the most commonly asked questions, rank them in order of the business impact. This will allow you to prioritize what data you need and in what order you should bring it. Most importantly, it will allow you to incrementally deliver value from your data without having to spend time bringing “all of the data” in.
One of the tools that I use is a visual map that shows key data elements on one axis and the core business functions that rely on that data on the other. Let’s consider a simple question: What is the P&L for product X? To answer this, we’ll need to list all the different sources of revenue and cost for this product