Data Strategies: Offensive & Defensive - Case Study Review
Updated: Aug 26, 2020
1. Page 5 of this article has this to say about data use and strategy (i.e., either more defensively or offensively): “Some company or environmental factors may influence the direction of data strategy: Strong regulation in an industry (financial services or health care, for example) would move the organization toward defense; strong competition for customers would shift it toward offense. The challenge for Chief Data Officers and the rest of leadership is to establish the appropriate trade-offs between defense and offense and to ensure the best balance in support of the company’s overall strategy.”
Having analyzed your country (per your group term project) along cultural, governmental, legal, etc. dimensions in part 1, please make an argument as to which side of the spectrum (more defensive, more offensive, or both?) businesses in that respective country should design their data strategy around and why.
France is one of the most developed countries in the world, with a large economy. They are in a good geographical location (adjacent to six developed countries) and are rich in resources and transportation. Additionally, they have high uncertainty avoidance and are individualistic, so they are highly structured, driven, and aim to independently achieve goals. Due to the country’s characteristics, businesses in this country should use a mostly defensive approach (with some offensive tactics) when designing their data strategy. A defensive strategy when managing their data would be beneficial to them because of how prosperous business currently is. Since France is already well established with large local companies and many global businesses, it’s more important to focus on protecting against fraud and theft and mitigating risks. France, due to having a high uncertainty avoidance, is less open to dealing with unforeseen circumstances and has less room for error, so protection is key. While protecting their data is the primary focus, taking smaller, appropriate offensive steps to further increase profit and enhance customer relations is still necessary when it comes to helping France flourish.
2. The authors talk a lot about ‘governance’ in the data management model articulated herein, but especially at the end of the section entitled Single Source/Multiple Versions on page 8. Please explain what way(s) ‘governance’ factors into how single source/multiple versions work so effectively, particularly for companies with decentralized operations/satellite companies internationally. For elaboration on this point, reference the earlier slide entitled ‘SSOT to MVOT’.
Single Source of Truth is essentially the raw, unbiased, legitimate data managed by a company. The data could contain customer information, supplier details, product data, etc. Multiple Versions of Truth refer to the insights generated from the raw data; it’s information that helps tell a story, assisting in the decision-making process. It is also the justification of a business decision or a goal. Governance plays a role in having decentralized operations/satellite companies internationally, successfully managing their data. Governance means following a structured, controlled system to efficiently collect, store, organize, and analyze pure, reliable data so that meaningful information could be created, and effective business decisions could be made. Governance ensures that the business is basing decisions and actions on accurate, unbiased information. Governance keeps everyone in the business in the loop with what stage of the process the data is currently at and what decisions are in the process of being made (what goals are currently being pursued).
3. Please explain why the authors claim THIS, towards the end of this article: “Devoting equal attention to offense and defense is sometimes optimal, but in general it’s unwise to default to a 50/50 split rather than making considered, strategic trade- offs.”
When companies are deciding whether they should focus on an offensive or defensive data strategy, it’s very important to look at what is practical. Practicality is directly associated with affordability. Can the business afford to pursue both strategies equally? Realistically, a company is usually able to afford more of one over the other, which is why it makes sense to primarily focus on one strategy with a smaller focus on the other. It also depends on how currently advanced their data-management strategy is. If the company is new, they might need to focus more on competition and increase revenue whereas a larger, established firm might have to primarily focus on protecting themselves against fraud and theft. Overall, most companies lean more towards one strategy over the other. It’s better for a company to have a greater focus on one strategy and a lesser focus on the other to get the most benefit.