Data Strategy, high time to take action!

Way too many companies are still behind schedule, and have the utmost difficulties to set up such data strategies, especially in France. I have then decided to rely on my most significant successes from the past year to review and complete the operational scope of Data Elicitation.

The achievements :

  • The CWA, which makes me the only French data management expert who also is certified in digital analytics;
  • The success of the first Paris MeasureCamp, which I have been co-organizing, the biggest analytics event in France, which is due to happen again on June 27th 2015;
  • The patent validation process going on now at a European level, which validates even more my data management expertise;
  • Les multiples requests I have been addressing, from web analytics to strategic consulting, including text mining, data visualization and big data, many topics for many original inputs.

The restraints :

Still, working on data and digital policies has proved rather difficult; in fact, the restraints in implementing these strategies are clearly more structural than cyclical; McKinsey is summarizing the French situation in 4 items, in this study (only available in French…) published in the fall of 2014 :

  1. organisational issues, and namely the all-too famous vertical organization that I have reported here
  2. a lack of digital competencies
  3. a lack of financial leeway
  4. a lack of clear managerial involvement

The French State could certainly act more and better on two of these issues, education and business taxation. I shall develop more in detail the opportunities for public policies in the digital area in a future blog post.

The two other restraints that McKinsey have identified are more complex, as they are linked to the internal organization of the companies, as well as to their willingness to change.

In my eyes, the French companies have to overcome three biases, which harm their blooming in this data-driven world :

sujet négligeable

  1. Data (and digital) are very often second-class topics, which are handled after sales and financial issues of any kind, when there is time, so to say very rarely as a priority. The website? A necessary evil. Social networks? we have to be able to reach young people! Data management? Sure, we have a CRM. So many prejudicial and sweeping statements: data and digital are downgraded as cost centers, and absolutely ignored as growth drivers.désaccord dans le groupe
  2. Investing into a data strategy is often subject to collective decision, through a board or a project coordination, and seldom the will of a single person. Hence, as for most “collective” decisions, it often is the lowest bidder who wins, the most careful, the conservative. On top of this, the competition between various department, be they marketing, IT, finance or sales, generates a paralysis, where emulation would be required.information sous clef
    1. Finally, and that is a key subject, the various data owners still consider that exclusive information ownership grants them an additional share of power. What a mistake! at the very moment when an information is stored, it is losing all its value, as data only have a meaning as they are enriched by others and used for decision-making.

An example? Three departments, marketing, sales, finance. Three products, A, B and C. Marketing has done some research, and clearly A is the best product. Sales are positive, B is the best-seller. Finance has analyzed the ROI, and C definitely is the most profitable. So two options: the wild-goose chase, and then the quickest, or the most convincing one wins, or one share information in a transverse way, so as to ponder the best mix for the company. One certainly would wish the second option happened more often…

Wherever there are data, there should be first an analysis, then a decision process and eventually an assessment.

The outlooks :

These blocking points have led me to rethink what Data Elicitation core business should be in the short-term.

As a matter of fact, it is vain to try to convince some companies to work on their global data strategy, when they still are burdened by the restraints as depicted above, while they have not realized yet how large their potential could be. therefore, I have created some training modules, so as to make the concerned professionals aware of the necessity to think their data management in a transverse and global way.

You will then find on this website, under the header “training“, a description of modules dedicated to people training, into such topics as data management and analytics, both on the methodological level and through such concrete actions as database maintenance, data sourcing or quality assurance.

Or course, I shall keep on consulting at C-level and Executive levels, when they are willing to handle their most acute data strategy issues.

You know it all, now… Your comments and/or questions about those modules are highly welcome, as well as any suggested improvement.

Now, there only is one thing to do, e.g. share this blog post IMMODERATELY…

I hope to hear from you soon!

[cette note de blog en Français est ici]

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