• Chelsea Wilkinson

Data is a CEO opportunity

In the earliest days of DataDiligence, Adam Votava and I wrote a manifesto. A collection of principles we believed in, to guide and differentiate our business services and - hopefully - inspire change and action in our clients and the wider business community.


Every quarter or so, I re-read our words, testing them against what we know now. And assessing the impact we’ve had.


Our manifesto comprises 10 principles:


1. Data is an ecosystem

2. Data is a valuable asset

3. Data's value should be measured by business impact

4. Data is a CEO opportunity

5. 'Data' is not a strategy

6. Data due diligence is a rigorous & structured process

7. Data due diligence opens value-creation opportunities

8. Data due diligence is a collaborative effort

9. Data due diligence is a modern upgrade to traditional due diligence

10. No rose-tinted glasses; delivering the promise of data


I still believe they all hold true - without exception. But are they inspiring change and action?


Yes. And no.


Let’s start with the positives!


All our clients and partners (plus those who read mine and Adam’s blogs) wholeheartedly know that we beat the data-ecosystem drum in all our work. It forms the basis of our frameworks and our approach.


Likewise, we advocate data as a vital, valuable business asset requiring due diligence - like all other business assets. I believe we’ve also had good (and growing) success in positioning the economic impact of data. And we are developing methodologies to measure this as we speak.


So, where have we been less successful?


In too many instances, data and data strategies are failing to make their way into the boardroom or the CEO’s office. Meaning that data’s impact is diluted to tactics, rather than strategy. We believe this is a mistake.


Data is a strategic asset - one that is radically disrupting individual businesses and entire sectors. It needs to be a standard, agenda item at your Exco and Board of Directors’ meetings - next to your financials, risk matrices, and divisional updates.


But to be elevated to the Board Pack, it requires a thoroughly articulated strategy, investment case, and implementation roadmap. And just as Mr Drucker famously told us many years ago, it also requires measurement, because without that, you can’t manage your data. And measurement shouldn’t comprise your data outputs, visualisation, or reporting - it must go after the hard KPIs. It must measure outcomes.


Digital transformation - especially following COVID - has tipped the global data axis. Businesses are now collecting and curating more and more data across their ERP, CRM, and customer platforms, to name a few. But few have articulated a comprehensive data strategy to fully realise the opportunities this latent data presents. Therefore, to truly leverage your data assets you need to start with strategy.


Meaning, data is a CEO opportunity.


And we’re here to help you grasp it!


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Click here to read the full manifesto