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Data management in focus - create a data use case and put the backbone in place

These and other data management learnings from Tietoevry’s Business X Data X Strategy webinar will help any CDOs to get data incorporated into the organizational strategy.

Ritva Aula / April 13, 2022

Even if there is a lot of talk about data management strategy, many organizations struggle. “What should its position in the organizational strategy be?” our host Ritva Aula, Head of Data Advisory, Tietoevry kicked off the discussion.

Data management strategy needs to be in the business strategy. It adds a dimension to the business, business processes and customer, to name a few. It must be built into the business, and the CEO and board members need to talk about it,” said our webinar guest Sameli Mäenpää, Chief Data Officer at OP Financial Group.

He spoke about data management strategy with our other guests, Maija Nikula, Chief Data Officer at KONE and Maria Rautavirta, Director, Data Business Unit at Ministry of Transport and Communications Finland.

Nikula added that if digitalization, data or analytics is reflected in the business strategy, it is already a good sign of going to the right direction.

A strategy describes what needs to be done to achieve the jointly agreed vision and business goals. Digitalization and data-driven decision making depend on the availability of specific data content and capabilities.

If the top-level engagement with data is missing, it can lead to business problems and lack of innovation. An example is the European digital single market strategy. It will give better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe, create the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish, and maximize the growth potential of the digital economy.

“If one factor from data, business and strategy is zero, the product is zero. Previously, we had no vision and strategy for the digital single market and did not accomplish the goals. Now we have strong steering, and the head of states discuss data,” said Rautavirta.

Putting the backbone in place takes some time

Over the years, Tietoevry’s Aula worked in various businesses and realized how difficult it often was to talk about data with business people. The focus was on applications instead of meaning. So, what advice did our guests give on how to convince the management that data needs to be taken seriously?

Mäenpää advised to create a use case with real value for customer experience worth millions of euros and build a compelling story of it.

“The management does not care about 1,000 euros here and there, but about a real impact on the customer experience and real value for the business.”

Nikula added that one needs to back up that with a backbone.

“You must put a backbone in place meaning data structure, data quality and technologies. It will take a surprisingly long time,” said Nikula.

“Once we have built the backbone, we must improve it continuously. It will never be ready. The world will change, and you need to adapt.”

Nikula also highlighted that everybody must understand their responsibility with data and that requires data literacy across the organization. Many questions need to be answered depending on the position. What data should we collect? How should we collect it – can we automate it? Do we need to validate the data? What kind of practices do we have around the data?

Smart city development for seamless experiences

When building the basis for data in business strategy, one should aim at joining ecosystems. Sharing and utilizing the data is the source of innovation.

Mäenpää said that banking is about helping people to achieve something in many value chains. This means that a bank needs to cooperate with other players and exchange data to develop seamless customer experiences.

Rautavirta brought up another example, the smart city development, where many areas come together – the health, transport, housing, built environment to name a few.

“The data really needs to flow, go across businesses and the public sector to make it possible. The resources should be used efficiently,” said Rautavirta.

She encouraged organizations to join the ecosystems funded by the EU (European Union), because being part of the standardization work ensures that the organization will most likely do business also in future.

Watch the Business X Data X Strategy webinar!

Executives from Tietoevry, KONE, OP and LVM share their insights on data strategy and how to implement it.

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Ritva Aula
Tietoevry alumni
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