Nov 17, 2023
Dec 14, 2023

Top 5 Data Mistakes Businesses Should Avoid in 2024

Steer clear of 2024's top data pitfalls with our expert advice on the five most common data mistakes and how to avoid them.

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At Data Insight, we've been around the block, working with all sorts of businesses across the board. We've seen the highs and lows, what worked like a charm, and what some wished they could do over.

So, in this post, we're going to cover some of the common mistake’s businesses made along the way, straight from the Data Insight strategists. Plus, we’ll also share some tips to overcome them.

Mistake #1 - Not aligning data to the overall business strategy

The first pitfall is not having a plan for data within your business that aligns to your overall business objectives. This is a recipe for disaster. It is like starting off on a journey to meet someone, but not having a meeting place arranged.

You’ll end up driving around trying to find them, but ultimately you are going to waste a whole lot of time and energy and end up getting frustrated with each other. This is the same within a business, if you don’t have a Data Strategy in place then you are hoping that you meet the requirements of the business!

Setting yourself up with a good data strategy that aligns your data initiatives and goals to the overall business objectives ensures that you are heading in the right direction, rather than hoping.

Mistake #2 - Not focusing on the fundamentals

As much as it isn’t the sexiest part, getting your fundamentals right will pay dividends in the long run. However, it is often neglected by businesses, as they don’t have an immediate return on investment that is easy to communicate to the wider business, so they get put on the to-do list.

So, what do we mean by the fundamentals?

There are two key elements:

  1. Data Governance
  2. Data Fundamentals

Data Governance

Have you ever been presented with multiple versions of the same number or been told that the data is unreliable or just not available? Well, this is down to data governance.

Data governance plays a key role in ensuring your data is usable and secure. It sets the standards, processes, policies, and defines people’s roles in relation to data management. A data governance framework is a critical element to ensure the data you need to execute your strategy is not only available but also trustworthy. It also plays a pivotal role in ensuring you meet your regulatory and privacy requirements. Without this foundation you may find that you end up wasting lots of time working with poor data or end up exposing the business toa high degree of risk.

Data Fundamentals

These are your data models, like a single customer view. They ensure everyone is reading off the same page, so that you don’t end up with 3 different counts of customers.

How do you find the key data models you need?

  1. What calculations or analysis is used time and time again?
  2. What data is needed to support your key strategic goals?
  3. How can you help break down data silos?

Answering these key questions will help you identify what critical data fundamentals you need to start looking at.

Mistake #3 - Hiring the wrong team

Building a data team is tough and expensive, but getting it wrong can be even more damaging, ending up with not only wasted time and money, but also negatively impacting the reputation that data has within your business.

We’ve seen the following mistakes repeated over and over again:

How should you hire?

  1. Be clear what you want the role to do and be realistic
  2. Be clear on your budget
    - If you have only budget for one analyst then decide if you want someone to just do they doing OR someone to take the strategic leadership of the data space
  3. Don’t be afraid of using external experts to support your data team until it is mature
  4. Get the external experts to help you hire

Mistake #4 - Buying technology without a plan

Technology is amazing, but it is easy to get caught up in the hype of the latest technologies and end up wasting a lot of money and time on the wrong tool for the job. If your data isn’t great, then buying the latest analytics or AI tool isn’t going to solve that problem, it is only going to make it worse.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t invest in technology, just be sure to do the following first:

  1. Focus on your foundations and ensure that you have a plan for addressing the gaps
  2. Pick a tool that delivers to your goals as a business
  3. Ensure that the tool is a fit for your people
  4. Pick tools that naturally work well together

Keeping these four key elements in mind when you evaluate your tech stack can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Mistake #5 - Not considering change management

Change management is like being the captain of a ship navigating through uncharted waters. As you set sail toward a new destination—whether it's adopting a new technology, changing processes, or implementing a new data strategy —change management becomes your compass and anchor. It ensures a smooth voyage by guiding your crew through the waves of uncertainty and resistance.

Much like the captain of a ship, change management:

  • Communicates the course or direction
  • Addresses concerns that might arise
  • Ensures everyone has the right skills and tools available

Without a change management strategy, the transition can be turbulent and threaten to throw the whole journey off course. Embracing change becomes not just a destination but a well-managed journey, ensuring that the entire crew is not just on board but actively navigating towards shared success.

To really make the most of data in your business, make sure your strategy aligns with your business goals, lay down strong foundations, keep it real when building your data team, ensure your tech stack fits the bill, and keep a close eye on any changes or transformations.

Following these tips will make your data journey much smoother.

Download our Mastering Data Strategy Guide

Ready to leverage your data for growth?

Download our 'Mastering Data Strategy' guide now.

This comprehensive PDF is packed with strategies to align your data with business objectives, steps to gain stakeholder support, and tactics for thriving in a changing business landscape.

Don't miss out on these actionable insights – download your free copy today and start crafting a data strategy that truly transforms your business!