3 Steps to Increase the Value of Data Investments

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Most IT and business leaders would acknowledge that there is untapped value in the explosive volume of data their organizations collect. But they often struggle to navigate the complexity and perceived expense of leveraging their assets to achieve business objectives. IT leadership is further challenged in its efforts to articulate to senior management the need for investment in a data strategy.

CIOs play a key role in effectively connecting the divergent disciplines within the enterprise to align business goals with effective data management and analytical processes. If you’re struggling to deliver competitive value from enterprise data, consider three principles outlined in Data Investments as a Competitive Advantage, a report from the CEB IT Leadership Council. The CEB interviewed Informatica CIO Graeme Thompson about these core components of a successful data strategy, which align with Informatica’s internal approach as well as the strategies of some of its customers.

  1. Stress leadership over buy-in

IT has historically sought senior management “buy-in” for technology initiatives by explaining the technology first and connecting the business purpose later. Informatica has found that its most successful customers execute the reverse strategy and address the business goals first, working with management to define business goals and desired outcomes.

Specifically, they look at people, process, technology, and data. This focus on business capabilities gives business leaders the perspective to quickly recognize that improvements in data and analysis are mission-critical to improving their decision making and achieving their strategic goals. For CIOs, this approach can result in important insights to help ensure that IT is taking the right steps to enable those outcomes.

  1. Focus initial investments on high-impact outcomes

Tech initiatives can be expensive when approached as large, overarching projects. Full-scale big data proposals are often overly complex. Business-led data improvements, by comparison, start with changes that can show results in the near term.

Initial efforts need to concentrate on a limited segment of the overall set of enterprise data rather than tackling the full spectrum. Begin there by improving data access issues such as data integration and access management. Address data quality through governance, data lifecycle management, and administration, then implement enhanced analytical capabilities. Along the way, work with business leaders to prioritize investments that will have the most impact on the decisions supporting the overall strategy.

  1. Collaborate and improve

IT owns the technology segment of any data improvement effort, but business owns the people and processes that impact, use and potentially benefit from the changes – as well as how to measure business impact. It’s critical, therefore, that both sides share responsibility to the success of data initiatives. This requires ongoing collaboration between IT and business leaders.

Specific areas to address include data access, data quality, and analytical capabilities. IT and business teams need to jointly understand and share accountability for the results they achieve and the functionality developed as they move through the process of delivering business advantages.

To read the full report, download it here. For additional insights on how CIOs can lead on data-driven digital transformation, visit https://www.informatica.com/CIO.

Informatica CIO Graeme Thompson and big data expert David Linthicum explain why it's important for a business to manage data like it manages its finances. Listen to the podcast.