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The quest to become a data-driven company

The quest to become a data-driven company

Becoming a ‘data-driven company’ is an ambition touted by modern business managers, and inspiring cases are popping up every day that highlight business-driven digital transformation. These cases show the outcomes, but what does being ‘data-driven’ consist of – and how do you get started on the path?
We worked alongside Stage Entertainment to ensure a full house at every event by unlocking the power of their customer data.

Stage Entertainment: a success story

delaware customer Stage Entertainment aims to ‘make moments magical’ by exceeding audience expectations at performances and live theater shows. We worked alongside Stage Entertainment to ensure a full house at every event by unlocking the power of their customer data. Advanced analytics and machine learning solutions were used to identify useful customer insights, leading to personalized suggestions and buying cycles. In turn, these were used in targeted promotional campaigns, marking Stage Entertainment’s first steps toward becoming a data-driven organization.

Defining ‘data-driven’

A data-driven company analyzes data and uses the resulting insights to make better decisions, create and monetize new business opportunities and organize the capabilities of the organization more fluidly. By relying on omnipresent, accessible data at every level and in every part of the organization, the data-driven company views data as a strategic resource capable of answering the question: “what next?”

What data-driven is not: perusing a few canned reports at the beginning of the work day. What it is: giving every stakeholder the power to independently explore information, regardless of source or volume. To enable this, the data in your core systems should reflect your business practices.

The not-so-secret formula for success

At delaware we believe that there is a simple metric that summarizes your company’s data-driven potential:


The quest to become a data-driven company 


Some key definitions:

# business processes: every business process has the potential to capture, process and store data – allowing you to boost business value by digitizing targeted processes. This is especially relevant in light of the data register of the upcoming GDPR.

# data sources: how many sources of data (structured and unstructured, internal and external) your business owns or accesses is a natural driver of your data-driven potential.

Information quality: accuracy, believability, reputation, relevance, value-adding, timeliness, completeness, volume, format, coherence compatibility – these are all characteristics of high-quality data. For details, see Gartner’s model for measuring data quality and value. 

Organizational maturity and complexity: business barriers become data barriers, reducing the potential value creation of becoming data-driven. Mature companies have overcome siloes, created key roles such as chief data officer, head of analytics or information architect, and mastered data management. You can benchmark your company’s maturity using the IVI tool.

The data-driven transformation process

The quest to embed data in company-wide operations can only succeed if it is cost-effective, incremental and sustainable. Don’t reinvent your core IT systems just for the sake of doing so; approach transformation in an agile, results-focused and manageable way. Begin with a clear vision, and then engage in pilot projects with payoffs in weeks or months, and then outline a plan to tackle high-priority use cases. Finish up with a roadmap for building long-term capabilities.

Boston Consulting Group developed a matrix that we use at delaware to divide the transformation process into three segments.


The quest to become a data-driven company


  1. Funding the journey: identify low-hanging fruit and get started on your first data-driven pilot projects. Kick off your culture change by creating company ambassadors.
  2. Designing a company-wide plan: focus on improving information quality and organizational complexity. Set up data governance processes and tools and communicate your vision.
  3. Organizing for sustained performance: embed the data-driven mindset into the enterprise, cultivate the competencies needed to stay data-driven and incorporate new tools such as machine learning into your decision-making processes. To see this step in action, have a look at what we did for Wienerberger.

Where to start

Returning to the earlier formula, it is crucial to have a good grasp of the quality of your process data. Process data mining is a good way to quantitatively assess your company processes and gain a clear understanding of how data is being used in core systems and ensure that this use reflects your business practices.

As enticing as it may seem to kick off your transformation by making huge bets, the winners will be agile, pragmatic and disciplined – fast movers that achieve quick wins. However, these successful companies will simultaneously build a careful transformation roadmap that targets performance improvements that add the most value while building the capabilities and resources required to sustain the transformation.
delaware has years of experience in helping our customers grow into data-driven companies. Connect with us at our process data mining lunch on 5 September or join us at our ‘Delivering inspiration together’ event on 17 October. Or, as always, feel free to contact us – we’re happy to hear from you.