Applying a sound strategy to achieve success is not a new concept. But taking that strategy and applying it to data is certainly a new challenge for many companies.

In the digital age, data is a company’s most valuable asset. Whether it’s used to improve the customer experience, make faster decisions, or innovate with new products, for many companies, business value is shifting from physical to digital assets. For example, WeWork uses its data on the use of space, light, heat, and sound from more than 300 buildings in 75 countries to lower costs and give it a competitive advantage.

Unfortunately, when it comes to turning data into a business asset, WeWork is more the exception than the norm. According to Forrester, anywhere from 60 to 73 percent of all data within enterprises goes unused for analytics, let alone for driving innovation or creating new data monetization models.

So, what can you do?

A recent piece from the MIT CISR Data Research Advisory Board discussed the elements of a successful data strategy, stressing the need for companies to have a vision, a plan to move forward, clearly defined uses, and a model for economic value.

The article offers four key principles for a successful data strategy. Learn about them below and see how they can help your company:

  1. The Journey

According to the MIT CISR article, the process of creating a data strategy itself opens up big opportunities for companies. This includes more conversations on the power of data, better education for executives, and discovering new business opportunities.

2. One Size May Not Fit All

An adaptable data strategy is required to succeed. Business needs, digital maturity, and organizational structure are all areas that can impact the elements of an effective company-wide data strategy. It’s important to ensure that your company’s data strategy achieves common goals, but allows teams to get there using a method and pace that best suits their needs.

3. Change the Tires

Effective data strategies support the greater business strategy of a company. Since business strategies are under constant review, this critical linkage can weaken and even break over time. By proactively seeking ways to align the data strategy with the business strategy, companies can identify what is or isn’t working and what needs to change.

4. Show Me the Money

The most successful data strategies clearly define how they will deliver economic value. As business leaders develop their plans, they should always consider how the data strategy generates value for the business, including net financial gain.

You can read the complete piece from the MIT Data Research Advisory here.