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The Most Challenging Aspects of the Data Journey Unveiled

Discover the most challenging aspects of the data journey with these insights from data leaders at Google, HunkeMöller, Kramp Groep and Devoteam. In this article, you'll explore the delicate balance between short-term wins and long-term strategy, the power of data literacy, the significance of centralised governance, the game-changing potential of generative AI, and the importance of clear data contracts.

The Key Challenge in Your Data Journey

When embarking on a data journey, you’ll encounter various challenges that can impact your success. One aspect that stands out as particularly challenging is aligning your broader long-term strategy with short-term wins. This balance between immediate value and future goals can be a daunting task. 

One of the panel members recognised the importance of being use case-driven to extract value from their data journey. Each use case provided valuable insights and directed them towards their ultimate destination. However, the challenge arose when multiple use cases pointed them in different directions, while their long-term strategy aimed for a specific outcome. Balancing these short-term wins with a broader vision became a crucial obstacle for them to overcome.

To address this challenge, it’s essential to align your immediate goals with your long-term strategy. This means strategically selecting use cases that not only deliver value in the short term but also contribute to building the capabilities your organisation needs in the long run. By finding the right balance, you can maximise the value of your data journey.

The Importance of Data Literacy

Another significant challenge in the data journey is the lack of data literacy within organisations. Data literacy refers to the ability of individuals to understand, interpret, and use data effectively. It encompasses skills such as data cleaning, analysis, and treating data as a valuable asset. If not, it may feel like you have a Ferrar standing still in your garage, unable to make a move. 

Approximately 80% of a data scientist’s time is spent cleaning data, which is a wate of resources. Because what do you expect? When there’s garbage in, you get garbage out. This highlights the crucial role of data literacy in optimising the data journey. When employees don’t treat data as an asset and lack the necessary skills to work with it efficiently, the organisation faces significant hurdles.

To overcome this challenge, organisations must prioritise data literacy initiatives. By investing in training programs and promoting a data-driven culture, employees can acquire the skills needed to work with data effectively. This includes understanding data quality, proper data handling, and using data to drive decision-making. With improved data literacy, organisations can unleash the true potential of their data and extract valuable insights more efficiently.

The Significance of Data Centralisation and Governance

Data centralisation and governance play a critical role in maximising the value of your data journey. In this talk, all participants highlighted the importance of having a centralised approach to data. Many organisations have excellent data products and insights within specific teams or departments, but the lack of centralisation hinders their ability to leverage these assets across the entire company.

The need for data centralisation becomes more apparent when you consider the broader scope of data domains. Different teams within an organisation may speak different data languages and have varying data definitions. To achieve a comprehensive understanding of the data landscape and extract valuable insights, a centralised data vision is necessary.

A data vision encompasses the data model and the operational approach to data management. It ensures that data is accessible, consistent, and aligned with the organisation’s strategic objectives. By establishing a centralised data vision, organisations can break down data silos, improve data sharing and collaboration, and gain a holistic view of their data assets.

Embracing Generative AI for Enhanced Data Journey

Generative AI, including tools like Bard or Chat GPT and other local AI tools, has emerged as a game-changer in the data journey. These tools provide new possibilities for solving specific data-related challenges and enhancing productivity. This section discusses the influence of generative AI on the data journey.

One key impact of generative AI is the increased attention board members now have on the field of AI and machine learning (ML), but so also on data. Organisations often prioritise AI and ML as buzzwords in their data projects, overlooking other foundational aspects. It’s a very good momentum to use that attention for the data foundations. While it’s crucial to leverage these new AI technologies, it is equally important to build a strong data foundation, ensure data quality, and establish proper data governance.

Generative AI tools can empower small teams and individuals by providing accessible and user-friendly solutions. These tools can help improve data literacy and democratise data-driven decision-making. By enabling users to generate insights and solutions without extensive technical expertise, generative AI tools contribute to the overall success of the data journey.

To fully leverage the potential of data and AI, organisations must prioritise data awareness and literacy. Without the fundamental understanding and proper utilisation of data, AI and ML initiatives may not yield desired results. The attention AI has garnered from boards and executives provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of a solid data foundation. Organisations should advocate for comprehensive data strategies and resources to support the data journey. By investing in data awareness and literacy, organisations can become truly data-driven enterprises, positioning themselves for future growth and innovation.

Navigating Data Contracts and Ownership

Data contracts play a crucial role in the data journey, particularly when it comes to data ownership, responsibility, and accountability. The experts briefly touched on the importance of data contracts in ensuring data quality and governance.

Clear contractual arrangements are necessary to establish data ownership and clarify the responsibilities of different parties involved in the data journey. Data contracts outline the rules and regulations for accessing, using, and sharing data, ensuring that data is treated as a valuable asset and managed effectively.

A data contract is a formal agreement that outlines the ownership, purpose, scope, quality, security, governance, sharing rights, liability, and dispute resolution related to the collection, storage, processing, and sharing of data. It provides a legal and operational framework to ensure data is used responsibly, compliantly, and securely, fostering trust among stakeholders and facilitating effective data management. 


In conclusion, the data journey is not without its challenges. These are some key tips from the panel members: 

  • Prioritise use cases that align with your long-term strategy to achieve a balance between short-term wins and future goals.
  • Invest in data literacy initiatives, including training programs, to empower employees with the skills needed to work effectively with data.
  • Establish a centralised data vision to break down data silos, improve collaboration, and gain a holistic view of your data assets.
  • Embracing Generative AI for Enhanced Data Journey and using the momentum to raise awareness around data 
  • Explore generative AI tools to empower small teams and individuals, democratise data-driven decision-making, and enhance productivity.
  • Create clear data contracts to establish data ownership, clarify responsibilities, and ensure compliance with privacy and security regulations.

Unlocking the power of data

Devoteam’s experts provide tips and tricks for getting started with using data to generate insights and achieve business success. You’ll learn how to:

  • Establish a data-driven culture in your organisation
  • Tackle the technological and organisational aspects of collecting, analysing, and visualising data effectively
  • Identify and mitigate common challenges in becoming a data-driven organisation like pitfalls, resistance to change and more
  • Continuously improve and optimise your data-driven strategies