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5 min to readData and AI

How to create a data strategy roadmap

Jakub Miasik
Jakub MiasikLeader, Data Engineering and Database Management
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The challenge for businesses today lies not in the scarcity of information but in how to make sense of the vast troves of data at their disposal. The question is – how to start? In this article, we’ll explore a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to create a data strategy – a critical process to unlock the full potential of data assets and future AI possibilities. 

Set the foundation

Define business objectives

The goal of your data transformation is not an interesting new technology. Organisations use data for one of three reasons: making improvements to their business, developing new offerings or innovating their business models. It is crucial to articulate the business goals that the data strategy aims to support.

Assess current state of data

Begin by cataloguing all data sources, including databases, cloud platforms, and file systems. Evaluate data quality, examining accuracy, completeness, and consistency.

Engage stakeholders

Discuss potential use cases and outcomes with key people in the business – decision makers, IT staff, data analysts, and the end users. Their insights are invaluable in shaping a strategy that resonates with everyone.

Data governance: The rulebook for data mastery

Data governance is the cornerstone of any effective data strategy. It’s about setting up the right rules and roles to manage your data efficiently and responsibly. Good governance ensures that data across the organisation is standardised, accurate, and reliable. This reliability is critical because it forms the basis for all decision making and strategic planning. Without solid data governance, you risk data inconsistencies, poor quality, and compliance issues, leading to misguided decisions and potential legal pitfalls. Moreover, effective governance fosters trust among stakeholders, as they can be confident that the data they use is managed with integrity and precision.

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    Establish a data governance framework

    Consider putting a data steward role in place, outlining their duties in overseeing data quality and policy enforcement. Set up a governance structure detailing how data decisions are made and who makes them.

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    Develop policies

    Craft detailed policies for maintaining data quality, focusing on accuracy, completeness, and consistency. Develop access control policies, determining who gets access to what data and under which circumstances. Formulate usage guidelines, outlining acceptable and prohibited data uses.

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    Engage stakeholders

    Conduct workshops with department heads, IT teams, and end users to gather diverse data needs and perspectives. Use feedback to fine-tune governance policies to meet varied departmental objectives.

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    Implement processes

    Embed governance processes into day-to-day operations. Schedule regular data audits for quality and compliance. Develop workflow systems for data access requests, ensuring compliance with governance policies.

Data infrastructure and architecture: Crafting the data backbone

This is where you define how to store, organise, and process your data. A well-planned data infrastructure ensures that your data is accessible, scalable, and can be integrated seamlessly across different systems. It’s essential for supporting the volume, velocity, and variety of data typical in today’s businesses. The right architecture aligns with your business goals, making it easier to extract insights and drive value from your data. Without a robust infrastructure, you face inefficiencies, data silos, and bottlenecks that impede your organisation's ability to leverage data for competitive advantage.

Define data architecture

Develop an architecture plan including:

  • Data models: they serve as the blueprint for structuring and organising your data within the database, defining relationships between entities and guiding data manipulation and retrieval.
  • Storage options: different types of data – like transactional, analytical, or unstructured data – may require different storage solutions.
  • Integration strategies: it’s especially important in today’s environment where businesses often use a variety of applications and software solutions, each generating and storing data in different formats.

Map out the data flow across the organisation, identifying key data sources and integration points.

Select technology stack

Evaluate and select databases and data warehouses considering factors like performance, scalability, cost, and technology preference (to utilise the skills that are already present in the organisation).

Choose analytics and business intelligence (BI) platforms that offer the necessary analytical capabilities and user-friendliness.

Data security and compliance: Fortifying data security

Data breaches are both costly and damaging to reputation. A robust data security strategy is non-negotiable to protect your valuable data assets from unauthorised access and cyber threats. It ensures compliance with various data protection laws, preventing legal issues and hefty fines. By securing your data, you’re not only safeguarding your business’s intellectual property but also building trust with your customers and stakeholders. Effective data security practices act as a shield, protecting your organisation from the reputational damage and financial losses associated with data breaches and leaks.

Develop data security strategy

  • Draft strategies focusing on data encryption, both at rest and in transit, to safeguard against unauthorised access.
  • Develop a compliance checklist for regulations like GDPR and HIPAA, ensuring all data practices are legally compliant.

Implement security measures

  • Deploy advanced security solutions, such as firewalls, anti-malware software, and intrusion detection systems.
  • Implement regular security training for staff, emphasising the importance of password hygiene, phishing awareness, and secure data handling practices.

Data lifecycle management: Streamlining the data journey

Data lifecycle management is about handling your data responsibly throughout its entire life from creation to deletion. This process ensures that your data remains accurate, accessible, and compliant with various regulatory requirements. Efficient data lifecycle management helps to optimise storage and resources, reduces costs, and improves data retrieval and usage. It’s also vital for ensuring data privacy and regulatory compliance, as it involves proper handling and purging of data according to legal obligations. Neglecting this aspect can lead to data overload, increased costs, and risks of non-compliance with data regulations.

Define data lifecycle processes

  • Map the entire data lifecycle from creation, storage, usage, archiving to purging.
  • Establish guidelines for data retention, outlining how long different types of data should be kept.

Implement lifecycle management

  • Utilise data management platforms to automate lifecycle processes, ensuring efficient data handling.
  • Implement regular data reviews to identify redundant or obsolete data for purging, in line with compliance requirements.

Advanced analytics and insights: Unleashing data’s full potential

Incorporating techniques like machine learning and AI, you can uncover patterns, predict trends, and make informed decisions. This part of your data strategy transforms raw data into actionable intelligence, providing a competitive edge. However, it’s important to understand that utilising analytics and AI is possible only after laying proper data foundations as per previous points. Advanced analytics helps to understand customer behaviour, optimises operations, and identifies new market opportunities. Without this component, businesses risk making decisions based on gut feeling rather than data-driven insights, potentially missing out on growth opportunities and efficiency gains.

Develop analytics strategy

  • Formulate strategies for integrating advanced analytics, machine learning, and AI, focusing on generating actionable business insights.
  • Identify key data sources and determine the appropriate analytical models and algorithms for data analysis.

Implement analytics solutions

  • Roll out analytics tools and platforms, ensuring compatibility with existing data infrastructure.
  • Train teams on using analytics tools, emphasising data interpretation and decision making based on analytical insights.


A data strategy is not a one-time project but an ongoing journey. It's a dynamic process that involves continuous learning and adaptation. The crucial aspect of this journey is promoting data literacy within your organisation. To truly become data-driven, you need to teach your team the language of data. This means ensuring that everyone understands how to interpret and use data effectively.

Additionally, fostering a culture of collaboration is essential. Encouraging your team to work together in the data sandbox allows for the collective exploration and utilisation of data resources. Collaboration not only enhances creativity but also ensures that insights from data are shared across the organisation, leading to more informed decision making.

By following this roadmap, you're not just building a strategy; you're shaping a data-driven culture that's always evolving, always improving, and always ready for the future.

Should you need any help with your data strategy roadmap, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help you on your data journey, creating a detailed plan, based on the points above, during a dedicated engagement and supporting you during implementation. Explore our Data and AI Services. 

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Learn more about what AI can do for you

SoftwareOne demystifies AI and helps your team understand the value and risks, pragmatically defining the capabilities needed for your organisation to adopt data-driven practices and scale analytics and AI.

Reach out today to schedule a free 1-hour scoping session for you and your team.

Learn more about what AI can do for you

SoftwareOne demystifies AI and helps your team understand the value and risks, pragmatically defining the capabilities needed for your organisation to adopt data-driven practices and scale analytics and AI.

Reach out today to schedule a free 1-hour scoping session for you and your team.


Jakub Miasik

Jakub Miasik
Leader, Data Engineering and Database Management