We all know that data will play an increasingly important role in all future operations. How you personally and your organization apply data to operations will be the difference between success and failure. Have worked in this area for many years, the time is ripe for the next step in the evolution of data strategy. Marilu has taken this step. As an enthusiastic adherent to the business canvas technique, I greatly admire the diligence with which she has applied this to the concept of formulating a data strategy. There is a wealth of material in this very dense book of extremely useful tips, techniques, and guidance. Probably the most difficult aspect of data strategy formulation centers on the challenge of meaningfully engaging various stakeholders in the necessary dialogs required to take your organizations data and applying it meaningfully in support of the organizational strategy. The method described provides all the guidance you will need.
Peter Aiken
President, DAMA International
This is a comprehensive book on data strategies. Marilu Lopez has come up with a way to connect the data strategy to executive management that until now has been a missing piece; how to set the data strategies in motion. She doesn’t just go into how to create a data strategy as if it were a cake to be baked. Instead, she makes the reader think about what kind of data strategies are needed and how they fit into your organization’s challenges, intentions, and aspirations. The content is very credible as Marilu Lopez consistently uses and relates to academic research, literature, and thought leaders’ experiences. Thus, her PAC framework is based on today’s accumulated knowledge and takes you further from there. If you are about to take on data strategy work, you should start by first checking out Marilu Lopez’s messages.
Håkan Edvinsson
CTO, Principal Consultant, Informed Decisions
Marilu Lopez’ book is an important addition to the canon of Data Governance. Many books showcase ‘the what’ and ‘the why’ - this book teaches you ‘the how’ of building a successful program. The first section targets business leaders and does an excellent job of educating non-technical people with the importance of a Data Governance program. But the real value is providing a detailed road map, with practical tools for practitioners to use, to deliver program deliverables - and capture, demonstrate, and communicate the value. Highly recommended!
Charles Harbour
Data Governance Program Manager at HP
Today’s college graduates think that technology is all about choosing a technology or a technology stack in order to get work done. They don’t see that there is a larger infrastructure that they are a part of. What is needed is a book on the larger concepts that shape the IT industry. I recommend the book by Marilu Lopez as a starting place for understanding the larger framework under which IT operates.
Bill Inmon
CEO of Forest Rim Technology
You had me at “Pragmatic, Agile, and Communicable.” One of the perceptions of Data Management is that we are slow, overly complicated, and use convoluted terms and ideas. This work shows that it’s entirely possible to define a data strategy that is understandable and usable by all the stakeholders: executives, management, knowledge workers, developers, and data professionals. Marilu lays out everything you need to add data value to your organization, tailored to your industry and organizational culture. I look forward to applying the PAC Method to my future projects.
Karen Lopez
Sr. Project Manager, InfoAdvisors
Marilu has produced a valuable and detailed tour-de-force in this very comprehensive guide to developing an enterprise-level Data Strategy that is pragmatic, agile, and communicable. It is clear that she recognizes, from her own extensive experience, that most organizations have not been able to muster the engagement and collaboration needed to produce whole-of-organization agreements about how to articulate and align the key components, that is, data management, technology, architecture, and governance. The challenge that she set herself, and has mastered, is HOW to harness business interests in the light of the current and future data landscape and technology opportunities. Her 10-step Data Strategy Cycle is fully elucidated, and each activity and sub-activity, with its corresponding goals and objectives, is fully described. No thoughtful reader will be able to conclude that any level of instruction – who, why, what, when, and how – has been neglected. Throughout the chapters, charts, and diagrams summarize the proposed method effectively. Since my experiences have taught me that every organization, from a huge conglomerate to a new startup, benefits from conducting a Data Management Assessment, it was gratifying to see that as a foundational requirement as Part 1, Step 2, very early in the strategy lifecycle. In my data management courses over the last decade, one of the main team exercises is outlining a data management strategy because it pulls together the component disciplines of data management and encourages enterprise-level thinking, which is vital for a Chief Data Officer. In addition, Marilu de-mystifies the crucial task of decomposing the business strategy and aligning it to data – domains, architecture, and governance. The final step in this phase is developing Key Performance Indicators, enabling executives to measure progress towards the strategic goals of the business. The Data Strategy development phases she describes collectively encompass a systematic, consistent home for every key element of what it takes to manage data assets effectively. The Data Strategy Canvases are not only a useful mechanism to unpack complexity bite by bite, gaining agreement every step of the way, but also lend themselves as a proof-of-concept trial of ownership and stewardship roles, which are then planned and implemented through an integrated, multi-leveled roadmap. Participants in the development of the Data Strategy will broaden and deepen their understanding of data across the organization and learn their responsibilities from the ground up. Along the way, Marilu addresses and clarifies several of our industry’s ‘terms of art,’ such as “data-driven,” “data literacy” and “digital transformation.” And she employs a rational, functional approach to answering the perennial question we often hear at conferences “What is the difference between data management and data governance?” The reader will receive an evidence-based answer in this book, as she meticulously describes roles and responsibilities wedded to phases and strategy development tasks. If your organization has recognized the need to create a Data Strategy, I highly recommend this book! (No excuses, people, you can do it).
Melanie Mecca
CEO & Principal EDM Expert DataWise, Inc.
Data Strategy is a cornerstone to building the path to an evolving, matured Data Management practice. The maturity of the process to define it evolves over time. Marilu has captured this in an attainable process that embeds the Data Strategy into Business Strategic Planning in an evolving cycle.
Mike Meriton
Co-Founder and COO EDM Council
This engaging book captures a terrific collection of guidance, templates and methods. These would be very useful to develop and support data management capabilities for a broad range of business types in varying degrees of maturity. There are excellent samples and narration for data management professionals through the journey with a constant eye on how to align with business strategies – helping to answer ‘the why would they care’ question. There are relevant scenarios described and ideas for how to handle many situations along your road to success. The most compelling artifacts throughout are the canvas samples, which can be easy-to-use visuals, that thread together a full process and flow, while keeping each document readable and consumable. The PAC acronym of Pragmatic, Agile and Communicable captures the essence of this book. The approach is practical, useable, and relevant. It is agile in that there is a built-in flexibility to how you can use it and evolve your business and data management capabilities together. Lastly communicable – is realized so well through the assorted styles of canvases. The interviews throughout the book align with the necessity to pair up business strategies and make for additional understanding of the need for something so practical in many companies. I highly recommend this as a guiding tool for anyone trying to advance their organization through Data Management Maturity.
Dawn Michels
DAMA International Board Presidents’ Council Chair
The thing I liked the best about Marilu Lopez’s book on Data Strategy was the “P” (Pragmatic) in her PAC Method. Instead of a lot of theory, this book gives practical ideas on how to either start or enhance an Enterprise’s Data Strategy. Marilu’s conversational tone makes it easy to understand the different types of strategies an organization should implement under the umbrella of “Data Management.” The interviews with experts give the reader practical advice gained from their years of experience working with diverse organizations and will also reveal that there is more to Data Management than gathering and organizing data. First, you need a comprehensive plan--the PAC Method. As Melanie Mecca says in her interview, “Basically, data is forever; you need to manage it effectively forever…”. The PAC method, with its understandable graphs and tables, meets the challenge of implementing a lasting data structure that will contribute to new technologies and new tools and even withstand the onslaught of Artificial Intelligence.
Catherine Nolan
Board Member, DAMA International
A direct method full of practical steps of how to design proper Data Strategies for any organization. This book responds to the “How” we can align Business Objectives with Data Strategies using a set of key deliverables. A must-read book for any data professional targeting to assume a data leadership role.
CDMP Diego Palacios
Founder & President DAMA Perú Chapter
At last, we seem to be reaching a consensus that our data, information, and knowledge are valuable. The term “Information Asset” is gaining currency. A global wine company has taken simple steps to realize the value of its Information Assets through two separate exercises. In the first exercise, by developing and implementing some simple instruments, including a file plan and naming conventions, the organization drove a productivity improvement of $10,800 per person per year, about a 10% performance improvement. The Winery Manager said, “There is no other project in our entire investment portfolio that could have delivered a greater result, more quickly, with better staff satisfaction.” In the second exercise, the organization valued and sold harvest and yield data, achieving a 1,200% return on investment over 3 years and a break-even of 13 weeks. As we, the Data Leaders, say in the Manifesto, “Your organization’s best opportunities for organic growth lie in data. We are also made regularly and painfully aware that our data, information, and knowledge are vulnerable. In an unpleasant example, it was reported that a recent data breach had cost Australia’s second-largest telecommunications provider 10% of its mobile customers, and “56 percent of current customers are considering changing telcos”. And an even more recent data breach of Australia’s largest private health insurer has wiped nearly $2 billion off its market capitalization. Whether we are managing risk, driving business outcomes or both, it pays us to manage our data well. So how do we do that? We start by developing and properly implementing a data strategy. This is more than airy words and vague intentions. It’s more than shiny new software tools. Marilu has written an easy to understand, step by step and artifact supported method on how to define data strategies. This is a valuable resource that guides us in how to value and protect our most vital assets, our data, information, and knowledge. I commend The Data Strategy PAC Method to anyone who is serious about doing so.
James Price
CEO and Founder Experience Matters
For decades, data professionals have been advised to “get closer to the business” and to “connect business and data strategy,” But how? Finally, a book that answers this question! Well done, Marilu Lopez!
Tom Redman
“The Data Doc.” Data Quality Solutions
In her book, Marilu Lopez takes “Data Strategy” to a new level. Having more than 30 years of experience in data governance and management, she is able to take Data Strategy from Idealistic to pragmatic, from loose to precise, and from theoretical to practical. The PAC Method will guide you step-by-step toward the successful implementation of a data strategy (or strategies, as you will learn when you read the book). It is a must-read for data professionals coveting “competitive advantage” in managing “data assets” in their companies by having and implementing a robust Data Strategy.
Alejandro Rejon
Data Governance Professional | DAMA CDMP | ISO 8000 Master Data Quality Manager Certified | M.Sc. Finance
A delightful guide about designing sound data strategies in an effective way. In this book, Marilu brightly bridges an important gap, gracefully displaying all her knowledge, experience, and intelligence by simplifying one of the most complex tasks in data management, creating a sound and achievable data strategy. I have already put to work many of the guidelines detailed in the method, and I am certain it will be a tremendous aid for institutions that find defining and achieving long-term strategies an impossible dream, especially in Latin America.
David Rivera
Academic Development VP, DAMA Ecuador Chapter
Marilu has married two big ideas. First, she illustrates how a data strategy is an umbrella under which other targeted strategies sit. Second, she shows how to use Canvases to create 1-page summaries that every staff member can carry with them into execution work. It’s a simple but information-rich and very practical approach. Bravo!!!
Gwen Thomas
Founder, The Data Governance Institute and Principal, DGI Consulting