How to Build a Data Strategy? Here’re 6 Steps to Follow

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In today's data-driven business landscape, a well-defined data strategy is not just relevant but essential. Building a data strategy is necessary because data has become the lifeblood of modern businesses. It's crucial for informed decision-making, understanding customer behavior, streamlining operations, and maintaining a competitive edge.

Without a clear data strategy, organizations risk drowning in data chaos, making it challenging to extract meaningful insights or ensure data security and compliance. On the other hand, a well-structured data strategy aligns data collection, storage, analysis, and governance with business objectives, ensuring that data becomes a valuable asset rather than a liability. 

In today's data-driven world, a data strategy is the roadmap to harnessing the power of data for sustainable growth and success. In this blog, we will explore how to build a data strategy that helps businesses propel toward growth amid the intricate tapestry of the modern-day market.

According to a report by McKinsey, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers.

Guidelines to Update or Adapt Data Strategy

Important Steps to Build A Data Strategy

Here are the key steps to know how to create a data strategy:

1. Identify & Categorize Your Data Sources

The process of identifying and categorizing data sources is fundamental to effective data management. It involves systematically recognizing and classifying various origins of data within an organization. Here are the ways your business should follow for data identification and categorization:

Data Identification

The journey of building a data strategy begins with data discovery. Businesses should systematically locate and document all their potential data sources. It includes internal and external sources. Data discovery or identification is essential to understand the complete scope of data available.

Data Source Profiling

Once discovered, each data should undergo profiling. It includes collecting detailed information about the source, such as location, format, structure, and others. Data source profiling helps businesses assess the complexity of each data source. 


Once profiling is completed, identified data should be categorized on the basis of the below attributes. 

  • Data Type: In this data, sources are categorized as structured or unstructured data.
  • Data Origin: Sources are classified as internal or external data.
  • Data Purpose: In this, data sources are categorized based on their intended use, for example, sales, finance, operation, etc.
  • Data Quality: Data sources are classified on the basis of factors such as accuracy, completeness, consistency, and others.

2. Set Data Collection and Storage Policies

Data collection and storage policies are paramount in safeguarding sensitive information, ensuring data integrity, and complying with legal and ethical standards. These policies provide clear guidelines for gathering, storing, and accessing data, minimizing the risk of data breaches or misuse. 

Properly defined policies also help organizations maintain data accuracy and consistency, supporting informed decision-making. Here are the ways to set data collection and storage policies. 

Data Collection Policies 

  • Define Data Collection Goals: Identify the purpose of data collection and clearly articulate the type of data your business requires and why.
  • Determine Data Sources: Determine the data sources, whether it's internal or from customer interactions or external providers.
  • Data Quality Standards: Establish criteria for data quality, including accuracy and completeness.
  • Consent and Privacy: Ensure compliance with data privacy regulations like HIPAA or GDPR. 

Data Storage Policies 

  • Assess Requirements: Understand your data storage requirements, including volume, type, and accessibility.
  • Choose Type of Storage: Select the appropriate storage solutions, such as databases, cloud storage, data warehouses, or data lakes.
  • Encrypt Data: Implement encryption to secure data at rest and in transit, protecting against potential breaches.
  • Manage Data Lifecycle: Develop data retention and deletion policies to optimize storage costs and comply with legal requirements.

Why is data strategy important for businesses?

Data strategy is vital for business as it enables informed decision-making, enhances operational efficiency, identifies opportunities, and ensures compliance, leveraging data as a valuable asset for growth and competitiveness.

For more information, read our blog: What is data strategy and its benefits for businesses.

3. Clean and Validate Data

Data quality is paramount in decision-making as it directly influences the reliability and accuracy of insights derived from data. High-quality data ensures that decisions are based on trustworthy information, reducing the risk of errors and misguided strategies. 

It also enhances confidence in decision-making, leading to more informed choices, improved outcomes, and better alignment with organizational goals. Processes like data cleaning, validation, and maintenance enhance the quality of data, ensuring accuracy and reliability. Here are the key strategies for cleaning and validating data. 

Data Cleaning 

  • Standardize Data Entry: Establish consistent data entry formats and conventions.
  • Remove Duplicate Records: Identify and eliminate duplicate data entries.
  • Fill Missing Values: Use imputation techniques to fill in missing data points.
  • Outlier Detection: Identify and handle outliers that can skew results.
  • Data Transformation: Convert data types and units to ensure consistency.
  • Error Handling: Implement error-handling procedures for data input and processing.

Data Validation 

  • Cross-Validation: Verify data accuracy by cross-referencing with multiple sources.
  • Validation Rules: Define validation rules and checks for data integrity.
  • Real-Time Validation: Implement real-time validation during data entry.
  • Validation Automation: Use automated validation tools and scripts.
  • User Feedback: Provide immediate feedback to users for invalid data entries.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct periodic data audits to identify discrepancies.

4. Integrate and Transform Data 

Integrating and transforming data from multiple sources is crucial because it addresses the challenges of data silos and ensures that organizations have a unified, comprehensive, and coherent dataset.

It allows disparate data sources to work together seamlessly, enabling organizations to derive valuable insights, make informed decisions, and identify trends that may be hidden when data is isolated. Transformation further standardizes and harmonizes data, making it consistent and usable. 

Integrating and transforming data effectively is essential for creating a unified, usable dataset. Here are strategies for integrating and transforming data: 

Data Integration

  • Identify Data Sources: Determine all sources of data, both internal (databases, CRM) and external (partners, APIs).
  • Data Extraction: Extract data from various sources using ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes or data integration tools.
  • Data Mapping: Create a data mapping document to understand source-to-target relationships.
  • Data Consolidation: Combine data from different sources into a central repository, like a data warehouse.

Data Transformation

  • Data Cleansing: Cleanse data by removing duplicates, correcting errors, and filling missing values.
  • Data Standardization: Standardize formats, units, and naming conventions for consistency.
  • Data Enrichment: Enhance data by adding relevant information from external sources.
  • Data Aggregation: Summarize and aggregate data to higher levels for analysis.
  • Data Encoding: Convert data types and encoding to ensure compatibility.
  • Data Validation: Validate transformed data to maintain quality and accuracy.
Data Transformation Techniques

5. Analyze and Visualize Data

Analyzing and visualizing data plays a pivotal role in turning raw information into actionable insights. It allows organizations to uncover patterns, trends, and relationships within their data, aiding in informed decision-making.

Visualizations like charts and graphs make complex data more accessible and comprehensible to stakeholders. This process not only enhances data-driven decision-making but also facilitates effective communication of findings to both technical and non-technical audiences. Here's a step-by-step guide for analyzing and visualizing data:

Data Analysis

  • Define Objectives: State the objectives of your analysis to guide the process.
  • Data Preparation: Clean, format, and preprocess data to ensure accuracy and consistency.
  • Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA): Use statistical methods and visualization to explore data patterns and outliers.
  • Hypothesis Testing: Formulate hypotheses and conduct tests to validate assumptions.
  • Statistical Modeling: Apply regression, clustering, or other statistical techniques as needed.
  • Machine Learning: Utilize machine learning algorithms for predictive and classification tasks.
  • Data Interpretation: Translate findings into actionable insights and recommendations.

Data Visualization

  • Select Visualization Tools: Choose appropriate charts, graphs, and visualization tools based on the data and objectives.
  • Design Visuals: Create clear, concise, and aesthetically pleasing visualizations.
  • Use Interactivity: Incorporate interactive elements for deeper exploration.
  • Storytelling: Craft a narrative that guides viewers through the data story.
  • Audience-Centric: Tailor visuals to the target audience's level of expertise.
  • Feedback and Iteration: Gather feedback and refine visualizations for clarity and impact.

6. Monitor, Evaluate, and Update

Monitoring, evaluating, and updating data are essential practices to ensure its relevance and reliability over time. Monitoring tracks data in real time, helping identify issues or shifts in trends. The evaluation assesses data quality and effectiveness in meeting objectives.

On the other hand, regular updates incorporate new information and insights, reflecting changing circumstances. These processes enhance decision-making accuracy, support agile responses to evolving conditions, and maintain data's value as a strategic asset. Here are the key strategies for monitoring, evaluating, and updating data:

Data Monitoring

  • Real-Time Tracking: Regularly collect and analyze data as it's generated.
  • Alert Systems: Implement automated alerts for anomalies or deviations.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Define KPIs to measure data against objectives.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct periodic data audits to identify discrepancies.
  • User Feedback: Gather feedback from data users to address issues.

Data Evaluation

  • Data Quality Assessment: Examine data for accuracy, completeness, and consistency.
  • Performance Analysis: Measure data's effectiveness in achieving goals.
  • Benchmarking: Compare data against industry standards or competitors.
  • Data Governance Review: Assess compliance with data governance policies.
  • User Satisfaction: Assess user satisfaction with data quality and relevance.

Data Updation

  • Data Refresh: Regularly update data from reliable sources.
  • Data Enhancement: Incorporate new data points or sources to enrich existing datasets.
  • Data Validation: Validate updated data to maintain accuracy.
  • Documentation: Document changes and updates for reference.
  • Feedback Loop: Continuously gather feedback and incorporate improvements.


Data strategy will undergo a profound transformation in the coming time, shaped by emerging technologies and evolving business landscapes. AI and ML will play a significant role in automating data analysis and decision-making processes. Data privacy and ethics will be paramount, with stricter regulations driving a focus on responsible data collection and usage. 

Amidst these changes, robust data governance and quality maintenance will remain foundational for data strategy success. Therefore, adaptation to this evolving landscape will be key for businesses to harness data's potential for innovation and competitiveness.

At Phygital Insights, we specialize in staying at the forefront of technological advancement. We help businesses leverage our expertise and technology infrastructure to stay current with data strategy trends. 

Contact us to harness the power of your business data and drive innovation, insights, and sustainable growth with our data engineering services. 

Article by
Alex Mitchell

Alex Mitchell is a seasoned authority in the dynamic world of Data Science. With a rich tapestry of experience, Alex expertly traverses the intricacies of data analytics and machine learning. His impressive portfolio showcases his prowess in optimizing data-driven strategies across diverse industries, consistently driving impactful results. Alex excels in crafting innovative data solutions, nurturing collaborative data teams, and harnessing the power of data for business success. A prominent figure in the Data Science arena, Alex imparts concise and actionable insights, empowering organizations to thrive in the data-driven age.


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