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How focus on 5 key objectives based on business outcomes will deliver a robust RACI data management model

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Who controls the data in your organisation? Are they Responsible – Accountable – Consulted – Informed (RACI)? Implement this data management model to achieve a common goal and, whatever the size of your business, keep in mind these primary data objectives; thereby focusing on outcomes, not process.
raci data management model

Many people promote the concept of ‘making the complex simple’ as a means of improving communication and understanding. Ask any politician! Of course, it is not always helpful or possible in areas of science, technology or medicine, for example.

But complicated processes and relationships have to be managed in the business world and a good place to start is to look carefully at core functions and how they will support business outcomes. Or, perhaps better stated, what functions are needed to deliver critical results. That is certainly true in the increasingly sophisticated world of handling, managing and using data for sales and marketing.

The complexities of data obviously vary widely between huge global corporations and small businesses. However, the primary data management objectives remain constant – and straightforward. Whatever the size of your business it’s worth bearing these in mind in order to create, manage and measure a large team, or prioritise the workload of a much smaller one.

They are particularly helpful in creating a ‘RACI’ model – Responsible/Accountable/Consulted/Informed – of management control. This will enable you to focus on outcomes, not process, whether you are managing a big team – or just yourself!

Here are those 5 objectives:

  1. Data must meet sales and marketing execution needs
  2. Data must be clean and accurate
  3. Data must be timely
  4. Data must be accessible
  5. Data must be compliant and secure

That’s it. Everything you want to do with data comes under one of these headings. You need email addresses in order to make your data effective? That comes under objective number 1. Your data needs to link to Salesforce or a DSP platform? That is covered by objective number 4.

Let’s look at these in a bit more detail and expand from core principles to tasks. Then we will come to a model of data management. This first table gives an expanded definition of what is covered by each objective, and some of the tasks that may be included. Obviously, these may differ according to the size and type of organisation involved. A healthcare company storing patient information will need much more stringent legal review than a small B2B company, for example.

Objective Function Typical tasks
Sales and marketing execution Ensuring that the data gathered and hosted is able to meet all sales, analytics and marketing requirements in terms of matching the addressable market, the information needed to engage with groups and individuals through omni-channel media and measure results Collation of sales and marketing needs; converting needs into a data strategy; aligning strategy with current and prospective data sources whether in-house or 3rd party; 3rd party data selection; continual review of data in execution mode; creation of 360-degree view; enforcement of data governance processes
Clean and accurate Data must be standardised, complete and up-to-date in order to facilitate matching, modelling and campaign execution. Implementation of data quality systems and processes; defining and implementing clear supply and quality agreements with internal and 3rd party suppliers; audits; development or purchase of appropriate internal or external tools and reference data
Timely Data must be refreshed as frequently as needed (including real time if needed) from all internal and external sources including customer and prospect activity to meet sales and marketing needs Alignment with sales and marketing requirements; configuring tools and processes across platforms; monitoring data flows, ensuring the age of data at collection/receipt
Accessible The data must be accessible and available to sales and marketing teams through all required CRM, MAT, DSP, analytics and other platforms and tools Creation of data flow schemas, data architecture, tool and platform selection, process development across tools and channels, data integration.
Compliant and secure Data must be gathered and held in compliance with all laws and regulations, and made secure through robust structure and processes Monitoring all laws and regulations; checking data collection, consent and processing are compliant; reviewing and implementing security procedures; stress testing data security.

So, let’s see how we can convert these tasks into a RACI model. Firstly, a reminder of what RACI is. It is basically a tool to enable management and measure and enforce accountability of interrelated functions driving towards a common business goal. It ensures clarity of roles in big teams, and can act as a checklist for smaller groups or individuals who have to ‘multi-task’.

Here are the definitions:

R = Responsible = The person who performs the work.

A = Accountable = The person ultimately accountable for the work or decision being made.

C = Consulted = Anyone who must be consulted with prior to a decision being made and/or the task being completed.

I = Informed = Anyone who must be informed when a decision is made or work is completed.

The model below is illustrative and includes some typical but not definitive job titles. Nor is it comprehensive. Some of the ‘R’ functions may well be outsourced to contractors or outside agencies and, because the functions are broad, they contain more tasks and therefore roles than many RACI models. In smaller companies, the titles will obviously be compressed a lot. In very large ones there will be even more fingers in the pie. The names in the ‘A’ function should always be limited as much as possible to clarify authority.

RACI data management model:

Function R A C I
Sales and marketing execution Demand generation teams, field marketing; sales and marketing operations; data strategists; data acquisition lead CMO CIO, CTO; CRO; head of sales; head of analytics; MAT and CRM teams Sales and marketing teams; analysts; sales and marketing operations
Clean and Accurate Marketing managers; data quality teams; MAT and CRM administrators CIO/CTO/CDO CMO, head of sales; head of analytics Sales, marketing and analyst teams
Timely Data architect; systems engineer; MAT and CRM administrators CMO/CDO Sales and marketing VPs Sales, marketing and analysts
Accessible Data architect; systems engineer; MAT and CRM administrators CIO/CTO/CDO CMO, CRO, sales and marketing VPs Sales, marketing and analysts
Compliant and secure Legal and contracts teams; data architects; data acquisition lead CIO/CTO; General Counsel; DPO CMO C-Suite; sales and marketing

CMO = Chief Marketing Officer; CIO = Chief Information Officer; CTO = Chief Technology Officer; CDO = Chief Data Officer; CRO = Chief Revenue Officer; DPO = Data Protection Officer.

(I am grateful to my former colleague Chris Baylis for his review of the roles and titles.)

While this type of model can embrace all stakeholders and ensure accountability, two questions remain:

  1. Who is in overall charge of sales and marketing data?
  2. What is the role of data governance?

The first question is easier. It should normally be the CMO, although the role of a Chief Data Officer is becoming more common. This may lie inside or outside of the marketing group. However, the second question is connected to it and there should be some separation of powers because there is bound to be a degree of conflicting priorities between sales, marketing and therefore revenue imperatives and data compliance – including permission and opt-ins.

Large corporations will probably have a separate data governance role, or at least a data governance function usually within the larger CIO group, that will be responsible for all data. The new GDPR regulation that will take effect in Europe in May 2018 recommends the creation of a Data Protection Officer (DPO) position. But regardless of legal requirements, big companies need to have a means of adjudicating who has access and control of the data, when and for what reason.

Data is usually complex and management is often hard. Let’s try and keep data management as simple as possible!

Read also:

Intelligent ABM: Why data is your passport to success

How data drives 5 key steps to maximising account-based growth

Can better use of data revive outbound telemarketing as a revenue accelerator?

Robert Howells
Author: Robert Howells
Global Leader of Omnichannel and Data Driven Marketing at Howells Marketing Consultants LLC |

Formerly head of key accounts and group managing director, international, at Harte Hanks, Robert Howells served as chairman of the Global Advisory Board at the US DMA. He now helps companies drive revenue and make the right strategic and planning decisions, founded on his decades of experience – supporting marketing services companies, data providers, B2B marketers and other organisations in planning, executing and achieving revenue growth – around the globe. Howells Marketing Consultants: contact Robert Howells here –

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