Best practices in Data Strategy — Choose better over more when it comes to data


This is an excerpt of “The CIO agenda for the next 12 months: Six make-or-break priorities”, published by y Aamer Baigm, on November 1, with a focus on the topic in question. 


Quality is like quantity, but there’s a lot less of it.

Suzan-Lori Parks, playwright


The biggest issue with data is that there’s so much of it that companies have tremendous difficulty making sense of it. 


Data users can spend between 30 to 40 percent of their time searching for data and 20 to 30 percent on cleansing it.

The result is often a kind of data drunkenness where companies chase after different ideas in an uncoordinated and disjointed fashion. 

In effect, they’re trying to manage the scale rather than extract the value.


Data users can spend between 30 to 40 percent of their time searching for data and 20 to 30 percent on cleansing it.

The result is often a kind of data drunkenness where companies chase after different ideas in an uncoordinated and disjointed fashion.

In effect, they’re trying to manage the scale rather than extract the value.


It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that no important value-creating initiatives for the business are possible without good data. 


It is literally the lifeblood of the business and should be treated that way. From that acknowledgement flow two imperatives.


1.The first is quality (including access and usability) over quantity. 


Too often the focus on data quality becomes just a set of policies and guidance that an IT support function executes but is not widely followed. 

The CIO can drive effective data governance through a balance of centralized data-management and governance roles.

More than 60 percent of tech leaders from our survey, in fact, say they are planning to scale data, analytics, and AI — more than any other tech initiative.8 

CIOs will need to bring in data and machine-learning operations people to manage this effort.


The CIO can drive effective data governance through a balance of centralized data-management and governance roles.


2.The second imperative is to develop an orchestration capability to make the many data linkages needed to enable advanced experiences. 


Take the example of predictive maintenance
. When data from sensors indicates that a widget should be replaced, this data needs to connect with inventory data to see if a replacement widget is available, with team-management data to get a crew in the field to replace the widget, with supplier pricing data to track the costs, and with billing data so that the right customer is billed and payment is tracked. 

This level of orchestration requires data developers to build systems that collect, integrate, and manage target data sets.


This level of orchestration requires data developers to build systems that collect, integrate, and manage target data sets.



This team takes inputs from the business, locates key data sets, and creates a data-orchestration platform to deliver data to any part of the organization.


Key questions

  • Do you know what data is most critical for your important business decisions and whether it is being used regularly?

  • Are you building a discipline and career for data professionals in your organization?

  • How confident are you that your most important data is accurate and timely?

Business in the digital age is impossible without a strong technology platform. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an important exclamation point to make this reality clear to the C-suite and board. 

With this foundation, CIOs have a unique opportunity to become business drivers. 

This doesn’t mean it’s time to throw out the old playbook; traditional needs of ensuring stability, meeting business requirements, and managing the costs and risks of delivery are all still necessary. 

But they’re not sufficient. CIOs need to write a new chapter in the IT playbook that embodies a new set of bold aspirations to put technology at the forefront of the business.


But they’re not sufficient. CIOs need to write a new chapter in the IT playbook that embodies a new set of bold aspirations to put technology at the forefront of the business.

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