Last month I discussed the importance of an effective enterprise data strategy as a means of ensuring that a corporation's investment in information technology actually pays off, that it actually delivers the data and information needed to produce business results and, ultimately, enables innovation. An enterprise data strategy involves determining what analytic capabilities we need, how we should structure data and deliver it to the enterprise, and how we will care for our data once we complete the plan. What actually makes the enterprise data strategy work, however, is the action plan.

It may sound laughably obvious to say that you need an action plan to make something work. In fact, however, the information technology (IT) industry as a whole has been more than a little guilty of delivering thick binders with very detailed enterprise data models and white papers with wonderfully logical data strategies, but with no real imperative to turn the binders and white papers into actionable business benefits. The question for this month and next is: How does a company create an action plan with real "teeth"?

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