Where’s the Why?

Jose Almeida
3 min readDec 5, 2023
Where’s the Why?

In any kind of data initiative, the WHY is most frequently overlooked.

I’ve been present in dozens of meetings, board meetings, management meetings, project meetings and the focus is always on the WHAT, on the HOW, on the WHO, on the WHEN, or on the WHERE, hardly ever on the WHY.

The same goes for the hundreds of RFPs I’ve read over the years, the WHY is mostly absent, and when there’s a WHY it almost never passes a few generic, common-sense ideas.

Many organizations are being hastily pushed into digital transformation, to become data-driven, to achieve competitive differentiation and the necessary advantage to thrive in a rapidly evolving complex business landscape.

The effort to take advantage of emergent new business innovations, of advances in digitization, analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things or robotics, can lead to miss sight of the essential.

Data-driven business means business-driven data and that means a clear WHY.

Understanding that it’s not about data, that it’s about business it’s critical and it can only be achieved with a clear WHY from the very beginning.

Business is the driver, data and what it produces is the enabler.

The success of any data related initiative is measured on how it impacts business performance.

· It is measured on how it impacts customer and experience loyalty.

· It is measured on how it impacts offer and innovation.

· It is measured on how it impacts operation efficiency.

· It is measured on how it impacts processes, minimizing inefficiencies and reducing costs.

· It is measured on how in impacts risk and compliance.

The true measure of success is the quality of the organization’s decision processes; the organizations best able to make the best insight-driven decisions faster will gain the competitive edge.

The transformation process that leads to a data driven organization must be wholeheartedly supported on the business strategy and objectives.

As any other asset in the organization, data’s purpose is to create business value, so any data strategy must be oriented towards the organization’s strategic priorities and key business objectives and those objectives are the WHY.

The WHY is critical for success in almost every single perspective.

· It’s critical for leadership buy-in and commitment — Any data initiative needs buy-in from every level of an organization, and it starts with strong executive sponsorship but also from every other stakeholder in the organization, which need to be aligned and committed to the program. Otherwise, the data governance program will constantly stumble into resistance pouches within the organization.

· It’s critical for alignment with business goals and benefits — In any kind of data initiative there is a principle that needs to be respected and seen as a goal: “Data exists to serve the business”. This means that must be supported on a strong business case, their objectives need to be anchored on business objectives, otherwise it will be viewed as another siloed IT project with no perceived value from the business side.

· It’s critical for cross organization involvement — These initiatives need buy-in from every level and area of an organization and failing to clearly transmit the objectives and benefits of data governance, while inevitably lead to a lack of commitment and involvement.

So, where’s your WHY?



Jose Almeida

Data Consulting and Advisory MEA - Driving better insights through better data (www.josealmeidadc.com)