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4 Questions to Help HR Leaders Make Data Strategy a Reality

To truly become an Intelligent Enterprise, an organization needs to be primed to collect data in a meaningful and strategic way. As I’ve examined in a past post, HR plays a key role in this journey. HR leaders should provide insight into how data-driven organizations need to be structured to bring the Intelligent Enterprise to life. Unfortunately, this can be a daunting task. It means ensuring that you not only have employees with the right skills, but also that those skills are being utilized in the most efficient way possible.


To ensure that your organization is ready for a next-generation data strategy, there are a few things HR leaders need to know. Below, I’ve outlined the four key questions to ask yourself before making your data strategy a reality:

1. Is this strategy crucial for long term success?

While I believe that every organization could benefit from becoming more data-driven, it’s the HR team’s responsibility to evaluate how advantageous an overhauled data strategy will be for their company in particular. Every company has different goals and a unique culture, and it’s crucial to keep your organization’s specific goals in mind when implementing an overarching data strategy. A savvy HR leader will understand the priority that leveraging data has within an organization and be able to work through the steps to consider the resourcing required for bringing a data strategy to reality.

2. Do we already have the tools needed to succeed?

Understanding the current state of your organization’s data and analytics practice involves evaluating the current processes and tools used to collect, organize, and use data for reporting and analytics. Organizations can evaluate their practices on a continuum of maturity from basic departmental reporting using products like Excel to understand revenues and profits to the most sophisticated use of predictive analytics leveraging a multivariate analytic tool like R used for predicting customer behavior. Along that continuum, organizations that have moved toward becoming what we would call an Intelligent Enterprise will have a platform like MicroStrategy to best organize data for just about any use. Setting a baseline for the types of analyses being done and tools being used will help better understand the human resources required to bring a data strategy to life.  

3. Do we have the talent to get the job done?

Many organizations will already have many of the people capabilities needed to execute their data strategy without realizing it. It’s crucial to not only have an understanding of what skills and tools are required to support your organization’s data strategy ambitions, but also to recognize what key resources are already in place within your organization.

Once you’ve identified the skillset you’re looking for, you should look within your company to identify the employees that may possess the right skill set, but working in different role, before expanding your search for new, and expensive, tech talent. It could be that engineers within your IT organization today can shift some of the focus they have on standing up the right enterprise analytics tool, or that a digital team working on mobility applications could generalize their work on an enterprise analytics mobility app.

The analysts working on department-level reporting could stretch their capabilities by delving into a more enterprise-level analytic platform. Another possibility is that the best resourcing is complementary to what your company has, and you enlist the help of a consulting partner to build and implement some facets of your data strategy.  

4. How can I bring our strategy to life?

Execution in business typically does come down to people, process, and tools. Once you’ve brought in the talent needed and given them the tools required to execute, you need to ensure that you’ve structured your team in a way that gives employees room to collaborate and build analytic capacity. This is where the organizational structure is crucial. Having the right team in place, who understand and have the capability to perform the roles needed to enable an Intelligent Enterprise, will allow your organization to leverage enterprise analytics in elegant and value adding ways.  

HR teams play a crucial role in leading business practices today - providing the organizational guidance needed to implement new strategies and technologies at scale. Use these four questions to take your first steps in executing a data strategy that allows your organization to maximize every opportunity.

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