Why companies need Data Strategy policies.


In the recent years, the explosion of numerous data sources has resulted in companies looking to different ways to exploit raw data for competitive advantage by creating insights that will add value to their customer offerings. In as much as exploiting such data has a number of advantages, negative effects are also abound if the collection and storage of such is not done with effective governance and privacy procedures in place. It is to this effect that companies should first and foremost develop a comprehensive Data Strategy and communicate the same with their consumers or at the very least; their shareholders.

A good Data Strategy should always be driven by the business. It should be tailor-made to the organization by being tied to the corporate vision and strategy which will provide the framework of what the business wants to achieve and how data can help to get there. This in turn means that organizations should therefore invest in smart strategies that will help focus on finding the exact specific pieces of data that will best drive the business long-term strategic growth and generate real value.

The data strategy should not only cover the information requirements of the organization, but also how the organization will incorporate governance and data management policies to keep the information secure and ensure both quality and integrity. The strategy may lay out points in how they will:

  • Determine what data they will collect to define how they will use that data.
  • Source and gather the data such as:
    • Purchasing data
    • Using internal data
    • Putting in place new collection methods
  • Turn the data in actionable insights by applying analytics that can inform decision making, improve operations and generate value.
  • Ensure data governance by addressing data ownership, privacy and security issues to be at par with the proper legal and regulatory obligations.

An example of a data strategy document can be found on :


With the massive growth in Big Data, the importance of data across every aspect of business will increase. Those companies that view data as a strategic asset and develop data and analytics strategies are the ones that will succeed in this new data-driven world.


Data Trails

We are living in an increasingly data driven society. Every aspect of our lives is being captured and stored to be analyzed and consumed by various players in different sectors of our economies. We create data trails with the kind of actions we undertake that in turn reveal patterns in our behaviors. Companies nowadays are paying top dollar amounts to get raw data that reveal our online habits.
We leave a trail of “cookies” when we surf the internet which in turn track website activity. Google’s Timeline feature (https://www.google.com/maps/timeline) records instances of the places you have been or visited; tracking it by time and date, Amazon has algorithms that study your patterns on their website that end up recommending deals for you based on your browsing habits. In 2009, Netflix carried out a competition (Netflix Prize) that was designed to find the best algorithms to predict user ratings for films based on previous ratings without any other information about the users or films. The best team (BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos) won $1,000,000 by predicting the ratings up to 10.06%.
The data collected about us offers so much potential in our daily lives such as personalized banking and healthcare. Your bank can use your information to improve service delivery, offer personalized product offerings and relatable marketing campaigns.
On the flip side, our interactions with online systems are opaque to us and many people are unaware of the vast information that is collected about them which brings about privacy concerns. In this regard, organizations need effective data governance procedures to best guide on how to handle and protect personal customer data. The Kenya Data Protection Bill 2012 (http://icta.go.ke/data-protection-bill-2012/) is one step in the right direction.

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