GCIO Focus: Driving Your Strategy Through the Data Mountain

Stylized mountain and train

Last week, we stressed the importance of closing the gap between strategy and execution through increased focus on strategy implementation. Probably the most important element in closing that gap is empirical evidence — data.  

Data is being created at a remarkable rate, with 90 percent of the world’s data produced in the last two years. The mountain of data is expected to only grow with the expansion of social media, video and the internet of things.

It is easy to get lost in what to do about all of this data with questions such as how to analyze, govern and secure it. How do I know what data is useful and may contain valuable insights?  

These are important issues organizations should address by investing in analytics skills and capabilities; implementing and optimizing data governance processes; and ensuring data is secured and properly provisioned.

But are these the primary questions we should even be asking?

What if, instead, one was to take a step back and think more about the purpose of the data in the first place — to design better strategies and execute those strategies more effectively. Questions we would see more often are ones like:

  • What data do I need to measure the impact and success of my strategy?

  • We believe our strategy should do “X,” but what data do we need to test if it will be successful and is a valid strategy?

When leaders focus on questions like these, the desired outcomes of strategy are realized sooner because organizations can adjust and adapt based on data directly related to strategy. In addition, strategies are empirically tested before being implemented, resulting in greater efficiency.

Government organizations have tremendous amounts of data and the influx of new data is only going to increase. To be successful, government leaders must ensure organization and business unit strategy drives data strategy and stays focused on and measures the desired strategic outcomes.

Read Mark Western's first column on the importance of advisory services here.