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5 Questions Every CEO Should Ask Before Embarking on a Data Transformation

14/01/2019 By Liam Grier

Many organisations are embarking on a transformation underpinned by data or aiming to become data-driven. In the first of a series, La Fosse wanted to understand the questions businesses need to ask before starting their data journey. 
Liam Grier, Senior Managing Consultant, spoke to award-winning data executive Peter James Thomas about the five key questions that need to be answered in the board-room before beginning to drive a data strategy. 

Peter has held the top data job at in various businesses since 2000, with roles including Head of Business Intelligence at Bupa Global and Head of Analytics and Data Management for Insurance at Lloyds Banking Group. He was recently appointed Interim CDO at MS Amlin. 

1. Why does my organisation need to embark on a Data Transformation - what will it achieve for us?

o Does the strategy of the organisation dictate a data transformation? If so, what needs to change and why? 
o What will be the benefits of a data transformation and how will these be realised?
o What does good look like for us in the data arena?

“Good can look different for different organisations. Typically, you want a sense of how data will inform day-to-day decisions, aid strategy formation and make the use of systems seamless internally and externally. Technology and architecture are both important, but clearly subsidiary to this.”

2. What will be different for us / our customers / our business partners? 

o How will our culture change as a result of becoming truly data-driven?
o How will this boost revenue and support new or improved products or services? 
o How will this help us to manage risk, reduce cost and increase efficiency? 
o What positive changes will I see in relationships with our customers or our business partners?
o What will be the impact on our broader reputation? 
o Does this work open up new markets or territories for us?

“A good thing to think about is whether becoming a data-centric organisation is going to put us ahead of the competition, or just help us to catch up? Which of these do we want to achieve?”

3. Do I have the expertise and experience on hand to scope a Data Transformation and then deliver it?

o If not, where are the most important gaps and how am I going to fill these?
o How confident am I that business objectives will be met and met on time?
o Do I need to hire different people, move people to new roles, or to bring in external expertise? 
o What type of partner organisations do we need to work with and how should we use them? 
o What will our data organisation look like during the transformation and after it?

“As with most endeavours, the people involved hold the key to success and there is no substitute for experience. Will you and your leadership team be able to lead the way?”

4. How long will a Data Transformation take and how much will it cost?

o What are the phases and does each result in meaningful delivery of business benefit? 
o What are the different elements cost and can I take a menu-based approach to which we do first?
o What is the right balance between interim / tactical work and strategic / foundational work? 
o What other work needs to be dovetailed with the Data Transformation, can we do anything in parallel?

“Consider how soon you want to see evidence that things are working, ideally via actual benefits accruing?”

5. Is there an end state to our Data Transformation, or do we need a culture of continuous data improvement?

o If we achieve certain specific things, are we done, or will there be new objectives that arise as we go along?

“Beyond this, what are the next data-centric opportunities that we must think about, or plan for, now?”

To find out how La Fosse partners with individuals and businesses to deliver data-led transformations, get in touch at liam.grier@lafosse.com, or call on 0207 932 1680.

 
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