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HBR: What’s Your Data Strategy?

In a Harvard Business Review article Leandro DalleMule and Thomas H. Davenport look into the data strategies companies have or should have. They make a point that the possibilities are far from being fully utilized. In a majority of cases, no clear data strategy is in place.  Such a data strategy should cover organizing, governing, analyzing and utilizing the data assets a company has.

The HBR article outlines a framework for building such a strategy. What we like about it is that unlike many others the HBR framework focuses on business (not on tools, governance or best practices).

“Cross-industry studies show that on average, less than half of an organization’s structured data is actively used in making decisions—and less than 1% of its unstructured data is analyzed or used at all” HBR, 2017

A data strategy framework

The data strategy framework of HBR distinguishes between data defense and data offense – each with different objectives, activities and architecture. The key for businesses and their CDOs is to define the correct balance between these two strategic components. At Instarea we see the issue today in many companies with petrified structures focusing almost entirely on the defense. Business users face roadblocks when treading the offense waters in an attempt to bring new services to the market. To make the most out of the opportunities CDOs will need to balance this discrepancy and make bold moves in the offense strategy.

A balance between a data defensive and data offensive strategy

On a possitive note, we have seen the environment changing lately. Organizations are becoming sufficiently confident on the defensive side. They are now looking to use the data as an asset, not just a cost center or liability.

Instarea has been a strong partner in the offense shift by partnering with major telco providers or banks to monetize their data assets. With our Market Locator solution, we have enabled telcos or banks to provide their data insights & communication channels as a service to business customers (go on the offense). Security & privacy by design has been central to Market Locator to maintain the necessary legal & ethical standards of personal data privacy, specifically with the upcoming GDPR regulation. This approach has allowed our partner telcos to go on the offense on the one hand, while at the same time strengthening the data defense they had been working on for so long.

The table from HBR summarizes these 2 strategies bellow. At Instarea we have been focusing on assisting our partners primarily in the final 3 categories, while keeping in mind the objective in the defense.

Offense and defense data strategy as defined by HBR
Offense and defense data strategies as defined by HBR (2017)

Further reading on data strategy

A recent Gartner research paper looked into the possibilities of how location data can help telcos. We encourage you to read this research paper as it outlines the offense opportunities telcos can engage in. This would allow then to shift the balance slightly in favor of an offense data strategy and in doing so create new business opportunities.

Read the full HBR article here: www.hbr.org/2017/05/whats-your-data-strategy

Get in touch

Are you a director of new business development at a telco or bank? I will be happy to discuss how to develop the offense side of your data strategy. Tangible & fast data monetization has become possible 🙂 Reach out to me at matej.misik@instarea.com or connect on LinkedIn.

Matej Misik

Director Business Development at Instarea. Experienced data monetization consultant. Holds a MSc degree in Economics from the Tilburg University and a BA degree from the WU Wien.

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