The Best Time to Kickstart Your Data Strategy Was Yesterday, the Next Best Time Is Now

The Best Time to Kickstart Your Data Strategy Was Yesterday, the Next Best Time Is Now

Delays in implementing a data strategy mean less time for the organization to harness critical business insights. Results from our global study of business and IT decision makers show that organizations which had data strategies in place earlier also reaped the benefits sooner.

About the report

The Cloudera Enterprise Data Maturity Report is a global survey of 3,150 business and IT decision makers assessing organizations’ maturity when it comes to their current capabilities and handling of data and analytics. Organizations were evaluated based on their current use of data and analytics, parties championing the use of data and the extent to which data is used across processes, the presence of enterprise data strategies, and the extent to which capabilities relating to an Enterprise Data Cloud have been achieved. 

Drawing from the results of our “Cloudera Enterprise Data Maturity Report: Identifying the Impact of an Enterprise Data Strategy” survey, this series of 5 blog posts explores different ways in which a holistic, integrated enterprise data strategy enables businesses to realize desired outcomes, be it revenue, resilience or culture. à

In our previous blog post, we introduced the survey and highlighted key findings from the report.

For many years much has been discussed and written regarding being data and insight driven.   Companies require having the right information and insights to determine if strategies and processes are enabling the correct operations.  Having the right information to stay the course or make adjustments is imperative.  A data strategy supporting the business strategy seems  very straightforward. A data-driven company is able to react fast to changing internal and external conditions, which means outperforming the competition by making strategic and tactical decisions based on data-driven insights. 

The longer a business procrastinates without a data strategy, the longer it takes to reap those kinds of results.

To understand where companies are, Cloudera put together a cross sectional survey of business and IT leaders from across the globe to gauge the veracity of the above data strategy truism; to get a sense of where companies are succeeding and struggling in their data strategies and the corresponding impact this has on their business performance. 

Two of the biggest takeaways of the survey were:  

“Organizations with enterprise data strategies that have been in place for longer than a year report higher profit growth than those with newer strategies, and those who plan to implement one in the next 12 months”

“64% of IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) report their data strategy as successful if it’s been in place for more than a year, versus only 27% for less than a year”

Companies that started with a data strategy and have operationalized the data strategy are seeing the business and financial benefits!  Let’s take a further look at the results of the survey.

Timing is essential but patience pays dividends

Most business leaders with enterprise data strategies in place for over a year say that those strategies are “very effective.” Of those with plans in place for less than 12 months, not even 30% report the same. Evidently, robust data strategies take time to develop and implement at the enterprise level. Your business needs a data strategy now, not for the next earnings call but to lay a solid foundation for the years to come. 

With an effective and mature data strategy, business leaders report bigger profits. Organizations that have had their data strategy in place for more than a year see an average of close to 6%+ difference in profit growth. The compounding positive effects on revenue can only be realized by swift adoption and then the corresponding patience to see it through. 

But your patience shouldn’t be infinite 

With such telling results reported within a year of strategic implementation, most organizations have a ready-made concrete timeline on when they should expect clear results from their data efforts. If any enterprise is not seeing positive markers of change within that period, it is likely time to pivot or seek outside strategic help.

However, keep in mind that the vast majority (97%) of IT decision makers and senior decision makers (96%) report at least one experienced or anticipated challenge when implementing an enterprise data strategy. These “challenges” are different from overall failure, just the expected hurdles of implementation. 

Resilience means preparing for the Next catastrophe  

The COVID-19 pandemic changed how every company conducts business, internally and externally. While most business leaders were rightly concerned about the brick-and-mortar implications of lockdowns, vaccine & mask mandates, and the financial impact of global supply chain shocks, an enterprise’s ability to cope with the diverse ramifications of the pandemic was significantly impacted by the maturity of its data strategy. Among enterprises which had a strategy in place for a year or more, their leaders reported they handled the effects of the pandemic “very well” 64% of the time. This was more than twice the respondents from organizations with an enterprise data strategy in place for less than a year who responded the same.

For companies that had no current strategy in place, but planned to in the next 12 months, 61% of their respondents reported their organizations only handled the impact of the pandemic “somewhat well” and a distressing 20% — “not very well”.    

Nobody can predict with absolute certainty when or what the next global shock is going to be, but it is inevitable that there will be one. Businesses that are able to implement a data strategy now, and have it in place for the foreseeable future, will build up resilience to weather that next storm.  Real-time data-driven insights have shown to drive enhanced operating results.

CTA: This post represents a snapshot of the findings from our latest report: Cloudera Enterprise Data Maturity Report: Impact of Enterprise Data Strategies on Business Outcomes. To find out more, click here.

In the next blog in the series, we will explore how company data strategies play a part in their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

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