These digitally transformed organizations are generating and consuming large volumes of data. In most cases, this data is doing a world of good to them.

It’s helping them to serve their customers better, launch products faster and improve their operational efficiencies amongst several other benefits.

This sudden explosion of data is both promising and threatening to leaders in the space of data management. If managed in a right way, data is an asset that can drive immense value. If not done well, organization will be looking at a huge heap of ‘potentially valuable resource’ which they would not be sure what to do with. And in worst case, they might even end up having to pay penalties for not being compliant.

Like with any thing else, organizations need to have a strategy in place to deal with data, its management and eventually to generate value out of it. This is not something new and most CIOs and CDOs have data management strategy high up in their focus list. The challenge however is to ensure that the Data Strategy is aligned with what business wants and does.

If we look at it, organizations formulate business
strategies in two broad buckets.

One -strategies to make money, let’s call them
front-foot strategies and two- strategies to saving money,
let’s call them back-foot strategy.
(Reference to batting strategies in a game of cricket).

Front Foot Strategy Supporting Growth Objectives

Back Foot Strategy Minimizing Download Risk

The front-foot strategy, can be for example, Increase the customer base or launch a new product or increase profitability etc. and the back-foot strategy mpliant with regulations, improve fraud detection, better operational efficiencies etc.

Organization should try to align their data strategies to their business strategies. In doing so they not only promote the efficient use of data and allocation of resources but also help organization design their data-management activities to support their overall strategy. If we build on the above examples: If an organization is focused on a front-foot strategy, we would want to get the data strategy in place to provide a 360 view of customer or have technology capabilities in place to enable faster product on boarding etc and if an organization I focused on a back-foot strategy, we would want to have focus on data protection, data privacy etc as key components of data strategy.

It is also true that no organization can wholly focuses on either the front-foot or back-foot strategies. They will have to look at a combination of both and the split depends on several driving factors. One of the key factors is the industry they fall in. Some industries like healthcare and finance have quite strict compliance and regulatory norms moving organizations more towards the back-foot strategy.

This move towards a strategy defines how flexible the component capabilities of data management should be. A business data strategy which is more on the front-foot will be flexible to cater to use cases of analytics, big data etc while a business data strategy which is more back-foot will be more governed and less flexible to have more control on the data.

Having said all this, an organization’s position on the front-foot or back-foot business data strategy is rarely static. With evolving needs of business to grow, acquire new customers and venture into new markets coupled with the fact of constantly changing regulatory compliance, organization must look to periodically revaluate their business data strategy.

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