Communicate company and department strategies, missions and values early and often. Data can be helpful in informing strategies and setting goals, but data in a vacuum will do neither. For example, a data team charged with predicting customer churn can focus its energy on creating a highly accurate machine learning model that can dynamically change in-product experiences, or alternatively, it can focus on root cause analyses that empower sales and customer success teams to intervene early. By increasing the exposure your data teams have to your business and finding opportunities for data teams to work alongside businesspeople, the more attuned they will be to what matters, and the better positioned they will be to pick projects and products that help achieve company goals.
Invest in technology that reduces the toil of data work
Every year, data volumes grow, companies acquire new SaaS tools that consume and generate new types of data, and requirements for data privacy and security increase. Add to those changes the burdens of monitoring dependencies, troubleshooting failures and maintaining data quality. Data teams can quickly find that all of their time is consumed with keeping data flowing smoothly, leaving little space for innovation and delivering insights. On the other hand, the landscape of tools available to move, store, and work with data has evolved tremendously, largely driven by the cloud and low- or no-code options. It is now possible to set up a data warehouse instance; import data from a CRM, e-commerce platform, or marketing automation tool; and expose that data in a BI tool without ever touching a line of code. The emerging categories of data ops and ML ops aim to automate and improve upon the orchestration work that remains despite advances in cloud infrastructure – or because of new use cases it makes possible. Starting 2022 off with a review of your data technology, and a consideration of where new tools can replace toil, should result in teams having more time to focus on what matters – delivering value to the business.
Hire a data leader
Hiring a data leader can help to ensure your data investments become a strategic advantage. They will put the right people in the right roles, whether that means recruiting and hiring new employees, upskilling current ones, or organizing teams for maximum impact, and keep them connected to the high-level strategy. They will also have a hand in ensuring that the technology choices and development balance quick wins with longer-term foundation building. Finally, your data leader will be the steward of data-driven thinking from the executive suite to front-line workers.