Successful Execution: Why a Data Strategy is a MUST to Get Results

Successful Execution: Why a Data Strategy is a MUST to Get Results

January 30, 2019 DATAcated Challenge 0

Imagine a team of highly talented race drivers who are highly motivated, have the best cars money and technology can buy (e.g., Ferraris, Porsches etc.) Sounds promising, but now ask them to drive to a destination but don’t tell them how far it is and exactly where the finish line is!

Despite their collective efforts, it is highly unlikely they will all get to the destination. Having the best data scientists, tools and algorithms but no actual data strategy is exactly the same as the above scenario.

Go back to the last time you saw money, resources, time and talent go unfulfilled due to a lack of coherent strategy. How frustrating was that?  As the God father of Strategy, Porter states, one of the biggest advantages of strategy is the clarity it provides [1, 2]. And having a data strategy allows an organization to define:

  • What products / services are key to its success
  • Who the key customer segments are

Using the above, the strategy in turn provides clarity on:

  • What data must be collected in advance to begin with
  • If data is the new oil, then oil has different grades of quality. As a result, simply having more data is not sufficient. The quality of data is crucial.
  • The algorithms used to analyse and make conclusions must be clearly articulated as well. Not having a clear and well defined data strategy can introduce many biases that can lead to unwanted discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, education etc. [3, 4]

A data strategy informs everyone what the final destination looks like, how to get there, what the timelines are, what success actually looks like, and all the key prerequisites required. Not having a data strategy that addresses the above key elements will inevitably lead to failure in the long term.

By: Mehdi Kiani


  1. Strategic Management, Porter’s Generic Strategies by Michael E. Porter
  2. How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy by Michael E. Porter
  3. The Truth about Algorithms by Cathy O’Neil
  4. Weapons of Maths Destruction by Cathy O’Neil (Book)


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