Crafting an ecosystem data strategy

The problem

Our client, a financial technology investment firm, had a portfolio of companies spanning personal and small business financial services, healthcare, insurance and capital markets. The firm was awash in data and technology initiatives, ranging from behavioral science, open data and data aggregation, through to advanced analytics and AI. Our client was seeking a strategy that would give them clarity in purpose and a practical approach to leveraging data across its ecosystem.

The scope and diversity of current and prospective projects made it difficult to prioritize initiatives, while differences in size and the business models of ecosystem companies (including strategic partners) led to few obvious shared interests and benefits.

The most efficient path

The shortest path to value was to determine all of the possible initiatives that we could realistically consider, assess both the potential value and the feasibility of each one, and prioritize them all in terms of “bang for the buck.”

We reviewed a long list of projects and ideas that were being considered by our client and portfolio company management, including the monetization of portfolio company data, lead generation, data sharing across and between portfolio companies, and others. We reviewed technical documents and proposals from third parties. We had in-depth conversations with both business and technical management regarding business goals, the role of data, priorities, and areas in which they would collaborate. We culled low-value and unfeasible ideas, and grouped and ranked the remaining projects.

The most enduring value

We succeeded with our goal of crafting a strategy that was relevant, practical and actionable, and that would be accepted and supported by all institutions: the investment firm itself, their portfolio companies, and incumbent operating companies. We provided a roadmap that deliberately eschewed high-profile, glamorous work and instead focused on projects that would provide immediate, tangible value and lay the foundation for future, analytically valuable initiatives.

Importantly, we helped our client make good use of its resources by discarding initiatives early on that had either low value or low probability of successful implementation.