Without the right tools, it’s very difficult to achieve success. This couldn’t be more true for data and its role in delivering digital excellence in any organisation.
Having a good data foundation is fundamental as it sets us up to have the best chance to succeed and win the digital game. There are some data essentials we should all practice. These essentials have supported and will continue to support successful company visions for years to come.
Enter – “Connected Data”
In the digital world, everything is an experiment first and knowledge after. The faster we can experiment, the faster we learn about our customers and their behaviours.
At REA Group, a significant amount of time and energy is spent on knowing everything we can about our audience, making those cohesive insights available in one place – no matter where they originated from – and those insights drive product and customer decisions. We believe connected data platforms enable us to make consistently better decisions about our audience and deliver the best possible experiences throughout our entire ecosystem.
Good data practices and connected data platforms need operating guidelines for the broader engineering community. There is always room for improvement, much like at REA Group, where we constantly evolve our data habits and influence behaviours we believe should change for the better. Data principles help avoid unwanted habits and behaviours, and help guide future product and architecture decisions at all levels of the organisation. Principles are statements and clear directions – not options or considerations – on what must never be compromised. They protect the value of data and prevent us from making decisions that may put the strategic path to success at risk.
It is advisable to focus on three impact areas associated with change:
Data Culture: The operational choices we make will define how we see the role of data in our business – real-time, democratised, single data lake, data services, etc.
Behavioural change: Are there any unwanted behaviours that need to change or are identified as barriers to target data culture?
Barriers to scale: What principles will address how we will scale for future – business, technology and people?
Data strategy, like any other, is a great way to define the vision for what data means to the business – and how we must care for its role in the overarching growth strategy. More often, the drivers of change that define where and how a business must evolve can be used to define a supportive data vision.
Often, this exercise is driven out of technology discipline and great care must be taken to avoid a data strategy ending up as yet another hardware or software refresh; a “let’s build a new data mart” program with close to no thought given to the potential customer impact.
A data strategy must take into account where it is making a difference, it must focus on value to our ultimate stakeholders – customers – and demonstrate the elasticity of decisions we make today into the future. As a data champion, build your strategy in consideration of following:
1. Balanced approach between technology and customer outcomes
2. Business Value
3. Time to execute and residual value of strategic choices in future
REA Group, Senior Manager Marketing - Behavioural