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Secrets to Data Strategy Success from Data Champions Online Europe

Three key themes emerged as 17 of Europe’s top data leaders shared the secrets of their success with more than 250 attendees at this insight-packed five-day event

How businesses are advancing their data strategies, improving data governance and launching successful analytics platforms emerged as key themes at May’s Data Champions Online, Europe digital event.

As Shaan Mistry, Product Manager, Technology Evangelism at software company Alteryx, noted in his presentation, the recent successes Europe’s top data leaders have enjoyed have set the scene for the next phase of the region’s digital transformation.

“The next decade is all about bringing this transformation effort into the enterprise,” he said. “Efficiency means growing our smart automation capabilities. It means augmenting our knowledge workers, and it means creating new classes of employee and digital workers.”

Over the course of five days, more than 250 attendees tuned into presentations from 17 experts from companies including The Telegraph, Warner Media and Addison Lee to discover how they are driving Europe’s data maturity forwards.

Unlocking the Value of Enterprise Data Assets

The value of data as a business asset is now widely accepted. But surprisingly, more than 90% of audience members polled during Oracle Head of Analytics and Big Data Mike Connaughton’s presentation said they don’t know the value of their organizations’ data capital.

“Data is an economic factor of production in digital goods and services,” Connaughton explained. “While ‘data capital’ provides a notion of the value of our data, ‘data liquidity’ refers to how fast and efficiently your organization can deploy its data capital.”

This idea underscores why developing centralized data or analytics platforms forms such a key part of many data strategies. These platforms are often the best way to manage or catalogue an organization’s critical data so it can be accessed easily by those who need it.

It also helps to explain why adopting Agile working practices can be beneficial for many data teams. Developing data products in this way helps improve an organization’s ‘data liquidity’ by delivering new capabilities more quickly and efficiently.

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Overcoming the Data Governance Hurdle

This year’s event featured two presentations on how businesses can get the most value from their data governance programs, suggesting that this is still a key challenge for European data leaders.

Some enterprises still seem reluctant to create and empower data governance organizations. But as Dee Samra, Director of Data at telecoms multinational Liberty Global, noted, you can’t start treating data as an asset without doing exactly that.

She used her presentation to reiterate why data management, data control and security, data compliance and data inventory processes are the bedrock upon which more advanced analytics capabilities must be built.

“Many organizations will find they have this convoluted problem of really complex data architectures,” she said. “We need to drive efficiencies, and [data management] is a good place to start.”

She argued that building a strong business case for, and communicating the benefits of, good data governance to key stakeholders is essential for jumpstarting this vital organizational shift.

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Collaboration is Key When Building New Tools

The Telegraph’s Head of Data Delivery, Justyna Owczarek, provided the week’s clearest illustration of what best practice looks like when developing data-driven platforms or tools.

She outlined how her team built the title’s Pulse analytics suite to equip its journalists with real-time insights they can use to make better decisions and help The Telegraph achieve its strategic business goals.

“What was very important for me was making sure that, when we created that tool, we had a multidisciplinary team,” she explained. “Since the team was created through the selection of [stakeholders] that were highly engaged, it was much easier for us to be motivated.”

“It’s also [about] the predictability of the whole setup,” she added. “You’re going to be able to deliver quicker. You’re going to receive feedback quickly. You’re going to be able to predict how long it’s going to take for each feature to be developed.”

Through working closely with key stakeholders to understand their needs, assembling a cross functional team and delivering new functionality in a series of Agile sprints, the team has ensured Pulse is tailored perfectly to The Telegraph’s journalists’ needs.

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To view all the presentations from this year’s Data Champion’s Online, Europe event and discover even more essential analytics insights, click here now.