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   5 Steps to Building a    Data Driven Business


29 March, 2022

Nicholas Bell,

Group CEO at Decision Inc.

Data is becoming increasingly valuable, especially from a business perspective. After all, data can tell us a lot about a company’s processes and activities. The use of data is changing the way businesses operate, enabling them to better serve their customers and create a sustainable competitive advantage. In today’s digital economy, the amount of data generated from operations and transactions is growing exponentially. This is driving more executives to prioritise investment in analytics and artificial intelligence.

The Current Data Landscape


Despite this, many are still unsure how to effectively extract value from all the data generated from their business. Poor data quality costs the US economy $3.1 trillion every year. Decision Inc.’s Analytics Maturity Assessment, a global benchmark assessment, which helps our clients identify areas of improvement within their analytics environment, revealed that:


of respondents believe that they are not living up to their analytics potential.


of respondents mentioned that they had increased their investment in the last year


of the 55%, were actually creating new business value.

It may be that many of these organisations are not sure what steps to take to leverage the value that data can create for their business. Many executives may also not be sure of what steps to take to build a data-driven business.
What defines a data-driven business? How can businesses use data to win with customers? How can businesses become data-driven?

Data Driven Businesses

Data Driven businesses are those that have made the shift to using data as a competitive asset as well as an operational differentiator. These businesses use intelligence gained through their data to drive performance improvement and optimise their execution, by focusing their efforts on understanding the impact of the future as opposed to just reporting on the past. Their people are equipped and empowered with information and solutions that help them to do a better job and they are provided platforms to develop their data and digital capability.



Some characteristics of a data-driven business include the use of automation, continual improvement and optimisation, the ability to anticipate internal and external changes, an adaptive mindset, and, most of all, a culture that fully embraces data and its potential.

Decision Inc. has identified five critical needs that companies need to overcome to achieve data and analytics success:


1. Building and selling the data and analytics strategy

Core to any investment in technology and data is helping the organisation and the leadership to understand how the strategy is going to create value. Taking the business on the journey and gaining broad stakeholder support is instrumental in correctly capacitating any Strategy. This is both financial and non financial support – ie sufficient people resources as well as This can include linking your current business outcomes to your current data landscape to help highlight the opportunity for improvement. Where are there gaps in your data landscape that doesn’t allow you to easily visualise the business outcomes you are working towards? Once you know the gaps, you can build a business case to address them. Building the Business Case would need to demonstrate the expected return on investment and you would likely carry out a cost-benefit analysis of the project. But with data being so central to many businesses’ goals, it’s likely that a business case won’t be too hard to make.


2. Transforming analytics capability through data and AI


Once you have succeeded in building the business case, the next step is to decide how you will go about reaching the desired analytics goals. This can include investing in modern data and analytics platforms and transforming the current reporting environment to an analytics platform that supports analytics, data science and AI. With the platforms in place and the organization enabled, focusing on building new Advanced Analytics Use Cases helps to deliver new incremental value but also improves the analytics maturity of the organisation.

3. Setting up the data environment for scale

Building a scalable data platform is core to achieving the desired business outcomes and ensuring consistent management of data enables your analytics to scale with your business. Architecting the platform for scale is different to architecting for reporting and requires the platform to be configured in a manner that prioritises integration, automation, and reusability. Developing strong integration and communication between systems, leveraging master data and data governance capabilities and prioritising reusability are some of the key elements that define a successful environment. Many companies are considering the cloud as the foundation of their data platform due to its extensibility and scale to manage high volumes of data as well as the shift from costing away for traditionally owned platforms.

4. Governing and managing data assets

As data continues to grow in value ensuring the correct techniques and data management systems are provided to support the data investment will ensure long term success of these initiatives. By structuring your data management approach to accommodate scale you can improve the quality of your data. As well as improving the quality you also need to improve the security of your data. Through building strong data governance processes, you can ensure that your data is secure and meets the required compliance standards.


5. Building a data-driven culture

This is often the hardest to achieve but also the most worthwhile. Transforming your people and culture to become data-driven starts through assessing the level of data literacy in your company currently and then creating a strategy to increase it. Working with your analytic specialists you can create data-specific KPIs and learning pathways for your employees so that right across your organisation everyone is making decisions that are based on real-time data.

The approach to building a data-driven business seems simple. However, many organisations don’t have the right expertise to transform. This can be because of a lack of funding in the appropriate areas or insufficient resource and talent available in the market. Our experience shows that very often the data environments are not set up for scale, and legacy platforms and architectures prohibit them from harnessing the power of data. This along with reporting and analytics functions that are often too operationally focussed and don’t align with the strategic objectives of the business add further frustration to the process. A continued topic that does not get the necessary investment is Data Governance and businesses fail to investment meaningfully in building a lasting response to solving and improve the value of their data.. Lastly, people and knowledge workers are critical to making any of these strategies come to life and traditional training and education along with low data maturity prevents the development of a thriving data- driven culture.

Fortunately, there are reputable partners, such as Decision Inc., who focus on changing the experience of businesses and the IT function, partnering with executives and chief data officers to help them become the catalyst for the future. We work closely with businesses to create real progress and change their experience, supporting IT with solutions and platforms that make the experience possible. We support organisations in bridging the gap between intelligent platforms and business outcomes.


Find out more:

Join our webinar on the 07th April at 11:00 where Clinton Etheridge, Business Manager – DIA and a DIA Panellist at Decision Inc. SA, will unpack how to successfully achieve data success within your business and enhance the way you make decisions.


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Decision Inc. Pursuit of Progress

Decision Inc. helps organisations develop and deliver the Technology and Digital Operating Model to support their strategy. We create the capability for clients to innovate and compete by connecting the technologies, platforms and data they need to thrive in the Modern Era.

Decision Inc. brings a deep business and technology understanding and provides functional insights, embedded in the technology platforms of the industry, to help clients make an impact. We help the best businesses in the world to power their business, enable their people and accelerate digital progress.


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