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Data Strategy #2: High level data diagrams

In the previous article we explored how you can use our Loft Data Canvas as a tool for brainstorming the data in your business. In this article we will look at how you can start to map out these data and value flows to create high level data diagrams.

In our experience, most business models have a small number of key entities (e.g. people, products , services) and everything revolves around data moving between them. Mapping these out as a high level diagram can be a really valuable exercise. It helps you to think about not only your data but also the structure of your business/operations, what links the different elements and how.

There isn’t necessarily a ‘right’ way to draw a high-level data diagram and it doesn’t need to follow a fixed format. It can be done on pen and paper, or you could use digital tools such as Miro.

One good way to start can be to brainstorm the key groups of participants in your business or product “ecosystem” – end users, B2B users, suppliers, employees, other providers and consumers of your data – and how they will interact with it. What are the flows of information between them, and your systems, and the corresponding value flows? Use your completed Loft Data Canvas to help you here.

What you are looking to see is how interactions with your platform by individuals in the various groups make your platform more valuable to them, but also to the other groups and to you as a business. So, to take one example from the above diagram… the more customers who give their pizza delivery person a rating for the delivery, the more…

Think about the value flows as they are very closely entwined with vs the data flows. What is going to drive your revenue and business growth? This will make it easier when it comes to prioritising which areas to focus on (more on this in the next article). The data diagram can also be a handy resource for others – potential investors, for example – who are seeking to understand your business.

Even if your business structure or processes are quite complex, the important thing here is to concentrate on the high-level elements. Think about the most important entities, data and value flows in your business and try not to get too tied up in the details. This exercise is about seeing the big picture.

  • Out of this we imagine you will have quite an ambitious and complex picture of the possible future
  • And lots of unknowns too – remember to document your unknowns on the diagram as well, so you can work on them
  • You can keep on coming back to this and revising it as you learn more
  • But meanwhile, you probably want to start building something ASAP to test the model
  • Where to begin?

In the next article in this series, we will look at some ways to break down and prioritise your next steps, and start to form a roadmap…

Date posted

7 February 2023


3 min read

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