As companies navigate through murky waters amid global health and economic headwinds, as a data and analytics leader, it may feel like there are many things that are out of your hands today. As you weather these conditions, it is still important to chart a steady course and be laser-focused on the parts you can control — which is to actively shape your enterprise’s ability to continue getting smarter about markets, competitors, products, and customers, armed with deeper data and insights.

In the first couple months of the year, the business insights team at Forrester — covering data strategy and analytics trends, technologies, and best practices — has published a lot of new research to help you steadily make progress on your insights-driven business ambitions. In this first post of the year, part of the Insights Beat blog series, we feature our most recent research to help data, analytics, and insights leaders stay on course in 2020.

Pick A Steadfast Crew

If you are tasked with leading the data and analytics charge at your organization, you don’t have to go it alone. Teaming up with the right partners, both within your organization and externally, will go a long way in setting you up for success, especially if you feel like you may be treading water. First, take a deep breath. Review your external partner options when it comes to data, analytics, and insights technology and services with our comprehensive research overview. Your internal partners matter, too. It takes a whole crew to navigate the insights-driven business transformation, so clearly understand who should be responsible and accountable for what parts of that journey. You don’t have to shoulder the burden alone.

Navigate Newer Data, Analytics, And AI/Machine-Learning Technologies

With a sound network of partners, you are now ready to experiment with customer data management, graph data, insights services, AI infrastructure, or text analytics. These technologies promise a plethora of ways to create value from data. If you are also ready to modernize your data architecture, the Forrester Wave™ evaluation on data management for analytics will help with your shortlist. And don’t forget to get up to speed on what machine learning really is by shattering seven common myths around machine learning.

Strengthen Your Anchors

Data is the backbone of your insights journey, so get a grounding on the maturity and business value of data management technologies with the Forrester Tech Tide™ on data management. It’s easy to feel a sense of security once you’ve invested in these data fundamentals, but becoming truly insights-driven is much harder. A good place to know where you are is by assessing your insights-driven business maturity. Once you know where you fall, you can take more prescriptive action, such as crafting a roadmap for real time, ensuring your data literacy practices are up to snuff (or, for more advanced firms, taking it a step further), driving value through data and insights storytelling, and optimizing customer experience with digital intelligence. These are just a handful of steps to take toward architecting a sound data strategy that works harmoniously with business strategy.

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Note: A Forrester subscription is required to access the research featured and linked in this post.

(Aldila Yunus, senior research associate, coauthored this post.)