In the vast expanse of data, the planning function of an organisation finds itself in unfamiliar territory, striving to leverage the power of data to drive informed decision-making. Just as experienced sailors navigate perilous seas, the planning function requires a carefully crafted data strategy to achieve success. In this article, we will delve into Argon & Co’s four-step approach that can serve as a guiding compass for planning (and other functions) in developing a comprehensive data strategy.

The proposed approach differs from the traditional way of doing data strategy, which focuses on evaluating the current state of data within the organisation as part of technology implementation. Instead, the Argon & Co approach focuses on what data capabilities are needed within functions to deliver overall business objectives regardless of technology. This ultimately increases data strategies’ impact and effectiveness. Focusing on the needs of each function within the organisation allows the data strategy to be tailored and aligned with each area’s specific requirements. In this way, data is used in a targeted and meaningful way to support functions in achieving their objectives rather than focusing on a single technology. It enables a more efficient allocation of resources, as efforts are concentrated on developing the necessary data capabilities. Additionally, this approach fosters a sense of ownership and accountability within each function since they are actively involved in defining their data needs. In the end, data capabilities considered from a functional perspective help drive greater impact, relevance, and success for businesses.

The proposed four step approach is as follows:

  1. Define data capabilities – charting the course for planning excellence

As a first step, the planning function must identify the key capabilities and skills necessary to succeed in the data landscape before embarking on building a data strategy. The foundation of a robust data strategy for supporting effective planning processes is to understand and identify the data needs of the planning function and any gaps in data capabilities.

  1. Sequence capabilities – setting sail with purposeful planning

In the same way, that a ship sets sail with a clear destination in mind, the planning function must examine each data capability holistically. This involves understanding how people, processes, technology, and governance are interconnected in planning and what it means for the identified capabilities. Once this is done, strategic sequencing of these capabilities can help organisations prioritise implementation based on how they will affect the planning team. This will enable them to contribute to the planning function’s broader goals and objectives. Additionally, it can highlight how the roles and responsibilities of teams/functions across each capability may change as an organisation’s maturity level increases.

  1. Operationalise capabilities – navigating the data currents for effective planning

As the ship navigates through ever-changing currents, adjusting its course as needed to accommodate tide and wind conditions. Similarly, the planning function must operationalise the defined data capabilities in the context of what works best for that team. This is where the team’s functional experience, skill, and understanding of planning processes are critical. A functional data strategy can be developed by identifying the daily activities and practices needed to implement these capabilities. A robust data collection and analysis process, appropriate technology infrastructure, and a data-driven culture within the planning function are key to successfully navigating the data currents and enhancing planning effectiveness.

  1. Embed capabilities – guiding the planning ship to success

Organisations must embed their data capabilities into the fabric of the function’s operations to ensure a successful voyage in planning. This step is like guiding the ship to its ultimate destination of planning excellence. Incorporating data-driven decision-making into the planning function’s strategic plan can help organisations steer their planning ship towards success and drive data-driven decision-making into planning process.

The planning function of an organisation needs a well-designed data strategy to navigate the complexities and uncover hidden treasures in the vast and ever-changing data sea. Using the four-step approach of charting the course for planning excellence, setting sail with purposeful planning, navigating the data currents for effective planning, and steering the planning ship to success, organisations can harness data’s power and enhance their planning functions. Organisations that develop comprehensive data strategies built on a strong foundation of functional capabilities for planning will sail towards a future filled with informed decision-making and enhanced planning effectiveness, just as skilled sailors conquer the seas.

To learn more about Argon & Co’s data strategy or data capability framework, please reach out to the team.

Author: Mohib Rahmani

Bryan Johnson

[email protected]

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