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The foundations of a modern data-driven organisation: Obtaining a clear view of the customer

By Contributor, Wed 6 Oct 2021

Article by Cloudera CTO for APJ Daniel Hand.
 

The key to knowing customers is listening to them, connecting with them both directly and indirectly through an ever-increasing number of communication channels. 

Keeping ahead of today’s connected consumer is a complex business. It involves combining disparate but connected data points about where customers are and what they are doing. It entails capturing vast volumes of data on various data types, each of which is potentially moving at different speeds. This data then needs to be harmonised to present a real-time view of their likelihood to perform specific actions. 

Strategy and culture are core components of a data-driven organisation 

Like most labels, ‘data-driven' is not a binary, black and white measure of capability. Organisations live on a continuum, varying in how sophisticated their data is and the extent to which it influences management decisions. Any article on what it means to be ‘data driven’ references to data strategy, data culture and decision culture. One always leads to another. 

Data strategy

The most useful definition of data strategy is that by Richard Rummelt, Emeritus Professor of Business and Society at the Los Angeles Anderson School of Management:

“The kernel of good strategy consists of a diagnosis of the challenge, policies for dealing with it and cohesive actions.”

One of the most important factors influencing data strategy is an organisation’s cloud strategy. CIOs are challenging CDOs to move a significant portion of existing enterprise data platforms to the cloud in the next 18 to 24 months. A cloud-first policy might therefore be a crucial part of your data strategy.

Data and decision culture

Related to the policy or principles of strategy, we have behaviour and values. Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. A world-class strategy, which does not align with views, social norms, and how people and teams work together will not be effective.

Data culture is ‘Senior leaders setting and reinforcing a set of shared beliefs and values around data that shape employee perceptions, behaviours and understanding of how to use data to make better decisions.’

While this definition may seem a little high-level, this is one area that has a strong and clear connection to how technology can support decisions. 

Providing teams with access to data insights at the right time, supported by a culture of making data-driven decisions, leads to an overall improved customer experience. Real-time data can also be translated into insights that are made available to customers and support staff. 

All pathways lead to the customer 

Reaching new levels of customer-centricity is only possible through becoming increasingly data-driven. This requires a strong and clear data strategy supported by a commitment to develop and nurture a data and decision culture. Ultimately, all paths should deliver the best value to customers.

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