Filling-in your Data Strategy Gaps: 10 Reasons Why your Data-Driven Initiative will Fail and How to Get it Right the First Time

Think of the following as a (long-term, non-trivial) data roadmap for your company, to establish a data-driven company.

  1. Does the initiative answer a key business question?
    • Please see this talk for definitions of business questions.
  2. Are there data gaps/integrity issues? Are you using the right (SQL/noSQL) database for the task?
    • "You can't get data from the past" that you didn't track in the past (Jenna Kutcher)
    • Please see my 6 tips for what you should be tracking, to help you understand your target customers and what keeps them coming back.
  3. Not democratizing access to data
  4. No baselines for KPIs
    • What's your customers' retention window? Engagement? (16 others)
  5. Not tracking positive and negative KPIs
  6. No testing environment for customer session understanding.
    • Are you able to re-create and debug a customer's checkout session?
  7. No testing environment for product iteration
    • Are you able to gradually roll-out the next version of your platform to customers?
  8. Missing framework for product A/B testing
    • Are you able to compare performance of current and proposed (new) version release, as it rolls out to more and more customers?
    • Do you have control and hold-out groups?
  9. No prioritization of initiatives. One prioritization approach is to evaluate each initiative based on all of the following:
      • Expected payoff
      • Timeline to deliverable
      • Data availability
      • Interconnectedness to (or dependencies on) other initiatives (Hilary Mason)
  10. Not including employees that work with data into key meetings
  11. (Bonus) What is you culture around (data-driven) product support?

Do you have comments or questions? Please contact me.


Keywords: Data strategy, customer understanding, data products, iterative development

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