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Unlocking Efficiency and Privacy: Evan Levy’s Take on Data Strategy

Evan Levy, industry consultant, discusses changes he’s seen to developing a data strategy, its implications for data privacy, and his upcoming TDWI courses.

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In this recent “Speaking of Data” podcast, Evan Levy discussed data strategy and its implications for data privacy. Levy is a long-time industry consultant and TWDI faculty member. [Editor’s note: Speaker quotations have been edited for length and clarity.]

“In recent years,” Levy began, “we’ve seen a change where people are coming to our data strategy courses much more informed. They understand that these questions aren’t just about reporting or building a data warehouse -- they’re about making decisions and running the business.”

He explained that one of the main reasons to develop a data strategy is to give the organization a holistic view of their data activities rather than dealing with data on a project-by-project basis. This gives you economies of scale and reduces repetitive processes that can consume as much as 40% of your staff’s time. It also establishes and implements data management standards and tools such as data catalogs and metadata that allow users to find and access data much more quickly, he added.

“This also applies to things such as privacy in that a data strategy establishes and publicizes rules for data access and use,” Levy said. “Privacy violations are rarely a case of flagrant rule violations but rather people not being aware of what those rules are, so the public nature of the strategy should make this less likely.”

Levy said that ultimately it’s not catastrophic if you don’t have a strategy in place. After all, most organizations will have at least some of the pieces and parts of a strategy, he said. However, by streamlining and formalizing the processes for finding, accessing, and using data to make daily decisions, staff can return as much as a full working day to their organizations that had been wasted.

Another value of a formal data strategy, he continued, is that it allows you to align your data process with the company’s business strategy, its operations, and its overall technology direction.

[Editor’s note: You can listen to this podcast episode on demand. Levy will be teaching at the upcoming TDWI Orlando conference as part of the Data Strategy Bootcamp.]

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