The number one question I get from clients regarding their data strategy and data governance is, “How do I create a business case?”
This question is the kiss of death and here is why.
You created an IT strategy that has placed emphasis on helping to optimize IT data management efforts, lower total cost of ownership and reduce cost, and focused on technical requirements to develop the platform. There may be a nod toward helping the business by highlighting the improvement in data quality, consistency, and management of access and security in broad vague terms. The data strategy ended up looking more like an IT plan to execute data management.
This leaves the business asking, “So what? What is in it for me?”
Rethink your approach and think like the business:
- Change your data strategy to a business strategy. Recognize the strategy, objectives, and capabilities the business is looking for related to key initiatives. Your strategy should create a vision for how data will make these business needs a reality.
- Stop searching for the business case. The business case should already exist based on project requests at a line of business and executive level. Use the input to identify a strategy and solution that supports these requests.
- Avoid “shiny object syndrome”. As you keep up with emerging technology and trends, keep these new solutions and tools in context. There are more data integration, database, data governance, and storage options than ever before and one size does not fit all. Leverage your research to identify the right technology for business capabilities.
A sound data strategy not only puts the needs of the business first; it communicates business value in terms the executives understand.
This blog originally appeared at Forrester Research.