With so much noise about “Big Data”, “Data Platforms”, “Predictive Algorithms”, “Machine Learning”, etc., it is often challenging for leaders to discern the "what’s possible” from the "what’s hype". 

As a company, we at CompassRed Data Labs are mostly focused on action. But action without a vision for the data is equivalent to shooting in the dark with no purpose. Often, when we are brought into clients to address a data initiative – we try to understand where the initiative fits in with the vision. When there is not a vision – we work to help formulate one.

 For the sake of simplicity, here’s the 5-step process we start with to help frame the discussion:

1.              Start with the Organization’s Mission and Strategy. 

Drawing out a future picture of what your “data world” looks like starts with your overall strategic plans for the business.  There are data points you will need to map to. Are you trying to sell more products? Improve the customer experience? Learn more about your customer? – All have direct data points to track to which need to be identified.  Ask the central question: “We envision a day in five years, where we are leveraging data to build our mission. It looks like this: {Fill in the Blank}.”

2.              Perform a “Data Audit” and build a Data Catalogue.

To start, most companies need just the basic building blocks: “What data do you have?”, “Where does it live?”, and “Who uses it?”. Keep it simple – and don’t try to overcomplicated it or it won’t get done. Even the simplest pictures have a great impact – we find them pasted all over the organization when it has been drawn out correctly. Adding a view of all the systems that create data, consume data, as well as business users that need to access data for analysis and operational needs is another point that should be captured if at all available.

3.              Architect and Dream.  

Sketch out what your future data and system world.  (we prefer a whiteboard, but the back of a napkin will also do).  Our approach takes a “current state” / “future state” analysis and allow others to participate in their dream solutions. Once these two states are defined – those internal and external to the system have a vision they can now chase and the next steps become clearly evident.

4.              Mind and Define the Gaps.

Looking at one’s Current State and Future State – the gaps become obvious.  What are the key pieces of information that you don’t have, aren’t able to get to, and are critical to driving better decisions in your business? These initiatives become the steps in your roadmap towards the future data vision

5.              Develop the Roadmap to Close the Gaps.

Prioritize your initiatives based on value and determine any dependencies that may get in your on your way.  It’s important to pilot projects that allow you to learn and move forward rather than waiting for a “big bang” project to finally come to completion.  

Have questions about your vision for your data?  Drop us a line - We want to help you use your data in a better way.