• Nicky Finlay

How to approach data strategy like you would planning a holiday…

The team here at MoJo all love to travel, and at one of our recent team huddle’s we were discussing that over the last couple of year’s we were out of the routine of foreign travel and everything you need in place to make a trip run successfully. What used to be second nature now needs a much more thought-out plan as we get back into the routine of travel… how many people have been caught out by expired passports over the last 6 months!

During our discussion, we also realised that as data planners, we tend to plan our travel in a very similar way to which we would plan a data strategy, but we also wondered how many people spend more time planning their holiday than they do the use of data within their business…?


At MoJo we have a five-step framework to work with a business to develop a data strategy, and whilst we may not consciously go through these steps to plan a holiday, and they may not be so pronounced, in effect, we do go through a similar process…




1. Identify Goals


What prompts the holiday in the first place, is it a need for a bit of rest and relaxation, break from work, family time, widening your horizons, a goal to see the world, get some sun, or try something new…? With data it is exactly the same, what is the Business Goal that the data will support, is it to Increase Business Growth, Improve Marketing Performance, Drive up Customer Engagement…?



2. Create your Vision


The first couple of questions you may ask when planning a holiday are, what type of holiday shall we go for and what do we want to get out of it? These discussions will be driven by your goal, for example, if you want some rest and relaxation, you probably wouldn’t be planning a full-on adventure holiday.


Creating a Data Vision to support your vision, is effectively the same, you would start by looking at what data you need to support your business goals, what you want your data to achieve, and set success measures.



3. Identify current state


This stage looks at your current state, it may include looking at budget, time, availability of travel companions, types, and availability of locations that suit your goal, and this will be the research stage of your holiday planning.


What do you want to see/do on your trip, is it feasible in your timeframe, do you have the budget, or do you need to modify your plans to do everything you want to do?

Good research means you get the most out of the experience and are aware of potential challenges to avoid.


For data strategy success, this stage is key to understanding your current use of data, what your current capabilities are, your skills, and data availability.


This will ensure that you have all the knowledge you need to determine strategies and action plans to make the most of opportunities and minimise any threats the business may encounter.



4. Develop Jobs to be Actioned…


This stage involves determining how are you going to get there? What are you going to need to do to achieve your Vision?


OK, some people like to fly by the seat of their pants when they travel... but I like to know where I'm heading and the steps along the way. Subconsciously, we probably do this when holiday planning and booking, without thinking we are doing it. This involves jobs to be actioned including booking the destination, flights, car hire, attraction tickets, passports/visas, travel insurance, airport parking, currency, packing lists, etc etc.


From a data strategy perspective, a clear list of jobs to be actioned will be your roadmap to get you to where you want to be, and ensure a successful outcome to increasing the use and impact of data in your business.



5. Create a Prioritised Crawl, Walk, Run Plan…


From the jobs to be actioned comes a prioritised plan, good planning means you may identify something that isn't feasible or be able to adapt quickly to a challenge, which means you can take a different route to get there. With disruption in the travel industry and the challenges of the last couple of years in terms of holidays, I think we have all become a bit more adept at changing plans quickly and being adaptable to change. As we again get used to being able to travel, this may start with a smaller trip and ease ourselves back in as our confidence in travel and adventure returns…


The prioritised crawl, walk, run plan for data strategy also works with that premise in mind…what can we do to start with and get some confidence in our data, moving through the stages to a fully developed, all singing and dancing data strategy.



Reaping the rewards of a strategic approach


By planning our travel purposefully we know it leads to a smoother journey and a much more enjoyable experience. The same rings true for having a well-thought-out and planned data strategy, in fact, more and more businesses are recognising the benefits of this.


A recent report from Accenture reported that only 3 out of 10 valuable enterprises had a data strategy in 2008, with that figure growing to 7 out of 10 today. They also reported that the annual growth rate reported by data-driven businesses is around 30%. This demonstrates the significant impact that adopting a data strategy can have on a business’s growth journey.

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