Updated: Dec 16, 2019
Identify what data and insight “jobs to be done” are needed
Data can be a powerful strategic tool but it isn’t magic - it requires a strategy based on your business ambitions to determine what you need to deliver value for the business.
Having worked with many SME’s over the years, we have developed ORION, a simple 5 steps to help you develop your data strategy.
By following the ORION 5 steps you will build a plan and organise what needs to be done to support your business ambitions using data and insight, as well as identifying the additional support and skills that may be required.
You may have now gone through the steps for Opportunity and Realise and are in a good position to have identified the strategies that will support your business ambition. If you haven’t read these steps here is a brief summary:
In Step 2: Realise we talked about using data to plan the strategies you are going to put in place to deliver against the business ambition, establishing the key questions you need to be answered to support your plan.
Following on from Opportunity and Realise, you will have come up with a list of questions you need or would like to know the answers for, to be able to plan the strategies in detail. Some of these may be answered from your existing BI, but it is likely that you will need additional analysis to uncover the insight to support the strategies identified.
Step 3: Insight is a really critical part of developing a data strategy as it is the lynchpin between business needs and technical delivery of your strategy.
Where to start?
A common problem we find when working with our clients is that the Insight teams are given ad hoc requests for data or insight with little context to how it’s going to be used.
The aim of this stage is to create a list of insight use cases that are needed to support the strategies that have been identified. This will help the analyst or data scientist to understand why the business needs this insight, improving the ability to apply the insight to your business.
You may find that some of the answers to the insight use cases are easily accessible for your data analysts or scientist - that is fantastic and should be leveraged. However, if the insight is not readily available in your business and will need a lot more development, try not to solve how you are going to achieve the answers right now, this will be established in Step 4: Operationalise.
Using your outputs from Opportunity and Realise, and the strategies you have identified to realise your business growth, start to create your insight use cases.
“I need to know the current value of my customers so I can tailor my communications accordingly and increase average customer value by x%”
“I need to understand my repurchase rate to understand the financial impact of improving this”
“I need to identify where my most valuable new customers come from so I can optimise my acquisition strategy”
Creating use cases in plain English, with clear reasons for why the insight is needed, is a good way to approach and document your needs.
Assign the use cases to the strategies you have designed, as when you get to Step 5: Now! you will need to know what analytical investment is needed to progress each strategy.
When working with our clients we find it useful to categorise the use cases by adding labels. This helps to easily identify whether there are common themes, clear strategy areas that need more focus and to keep track of your requests. For example - Customer > Value > Retention Strategy. These can be grouped, analysed and investigated together for greater efficiency.
Excel/Google Sheets are ideal tools to document your use cases, as you can then filter and search against the categorisation you have set up. Use our template as a starting point for this.
This is a great exercise to do as a cross-functional team as it helps categorise and consolidate the common themes across the business, and also puts the focus on actually how you are going to use the insight to support the business to grow.
An additional benefit to structuring and documenting your insight needs in this way is that you have a clear briefing structure for your analysts, with an explanation and understanding as to why the questions are being asked. This enables the analyst to also think creatively about answering the questions and possibly results in more unknown, valuable insights being uncovered.
Congratulations, you now have completed the third step of building your data strategy.
You have determined what your insight needs are and how this will be used to support your business strategies.
You have clearly written use cases ready to brief your analytics resource.
You have categorised your use cases which will support your prioritisation.
Look out for the final two steps - Operationalise and Now! to take you through the final stages of your data strategy development.
We Are MoJo is dedicated to developing data strategies for SME’s to drive business growth. We can facilitate this approach through our ‘Explore’ process or by providing regular access to data strategy leadership through a resource subscription. Get in touch to find out more - firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.