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When an organisation embarks on the D&A journey, they usually find themselves getting stuck when trying to reach the second phase. This is normally the phase that holds the power to drive real business improvements.

What are these two phases?

The first phase is usually all about setting up the tools and systems to handle data better and logging and recording the data, whilst the second phase is where the focus shifts to using that data to actually make the business better and help the organisation reach its goals.

It’s not as simple as completing the first phase and progressing to the second phase. There are more ongoing efforts, like training and culture building. These are also vital for growth and aid the first phase in being successful. Additionally, gradual progression and growth are going to be favoured over doing everything all at the same time. Taking it gradually makes it easier to track changes and spot areas of improvement.

When an organisation goes on to tackle the first phase, it may make the error of investing way too much time, money, and energy into the first phase, leaving very little left over for the second phase. Examples of over-investing include over-hiring and prioritising skills over infrastructure building or purchasing expensive overly complicated software tools. These common errors, lead to the initial phase of work being done without considering how it’ll benefit the business in the next phase.

This means that the first phase goes ahead but without linking to the second phase objectives, so when the second phase starts it is out of sync with the first phase and instead of one flowing into the other, they run separately to each other. So, when the predicted and expected values and goals do not occur, team members may get replaced and more financial resources are spent on what is supposed to be better technology systems. As one can imagine, this vicious circle can repeat itself for ages until either the company gives up or the budget runs out, keeping the organisation stuck in this initial phase and without benefitting from seeing results.

So, the solution is, to hire for both phases at the same time and by doing so picturing the first phase linking and connecting to the second phase. Usually, different skills and knowledge are required for the two phases, but this is dependent on the organisation. Furthermore, the roles within the field have an expiry date, and a set lifespan, and therefore updating or refreshing the team either by training new skills or hiring new employees is essential for the phases to keep working.

Following these steps does not mean that it’s going to work out right away. Bumps along the way are expected. Flexibility and learning curves are to be embraced and leaned into. A general culture of learning, upskilling and data company-wide, needs to be encouraged as this will help the flow from the first to second phase. Setting clear achievable objectives by the end of the phases also helps the team create workflows and deadlines. A structure tallying up data efforts and business goals will help set the pace.

Data governance comes into play as this ensures the work being carried out is trustworthy, of high quality, secure and will ease the process and flow. Strong data governance will provide strong data that the business can rely on to make data-driven decisions.

Once a successful promotion from the first phase to the second phase has occurred, this does not mean that the battle is over, on the contrary, keeping up the pace and good work means continual evaluation to ensure efficiency and adjusting methods and frameworks where necessary to keep the cycle going. Remaining flexible and abreast of the latest trends in the industry can also help achieve the goals desired.

About the Author

Sophie Muscat

Head of Marketing

Sophie is our Head of Marketing. She has a wealth of experience in marketing and communications, having driven strategic initiatives and managed direct communications.

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