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  • Writer's pictureRachel Morgan

Building a data strategy to become a data driven SME

Updated: May 30, 2023

As a SME leader you know your business inside out, you are passionate about your product or service and probably wear many hats to ensure the day to day running of your business.

You’ve heard lots about data and how it could support the growth of a business but not really sure how to apply it to your business.

But does it always seems to be so time consuming to get to any insight or data that you need to make any useful decisions.

Is it sometimes easier to make decisions based on what you have done before or what you think is the right thing to do as data is just too difficult?

We often hear:

  • Our data is rubbish

  • Can’t get to the data we need

  • It's too difficult to track

  • ‘Not sure how data can help

Has using data and insight become de-prioritised as you can’t see the value it brings based on the effort that is required?

If so you aren’t alone.

74% of businesses say they want to be “data driven” but only 29% are actually successful at connecting analytics to action - Brian Hopkins (Forester)

All businesses have data nowadays, collecting data at differing points to service their customers. The data you collect can be a powerful strategic asset to support business planning and key business decisions such as:

  • ‘Should we be investing in acquiring more customers or retaining existing ones?’

  • ‘What is going to drive the biggest impact: more traffic to the website or improving the customer experience?’

  • 'Do we need to grow our product offering to grow our market share?"

The tendency is to want to do everything - but have you got the resources to do that?

By using data you can start identifying where to focus effort and investment to generate the greatest returns.

Whilst data can definitely help answer these questions, it isn’t magic. It does require a strategy based on how you are going to use it to overcome some of the barriers mentioned earlier to drive value to the business.

And this can sound daunting, expensive, complicated and time consuming. Especially, when you are already busy and have limited resources and budget.

But is doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to build a data centre equivalent to Amazon to be able to create a data-driven approach that delivers value to your business.

The key is to focus on what ‘questions’ you want to answer as a business and then determine what data and tools you need to support this.

This becomes your data strategy.

Having worked with many SME’s over the years, we have developed a simple 5 step model to help you develop your data strategy.

We call this ORION.

Following these steps can help you build a plan and organise what needs to be done to answer your key questions, as well as identify additional support and skills that may be required to implement and operationalise your data strategy across your business.

For more information about the 5 Steps - follow us on LinkedIn ( or on our blog at

Each week we will build out ORION to take you on a journey to design your own data strategy with hints and tips to templates to support your development.

If you need further support, or feel your business needs a more tailored approach then drop me a line at


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