How Deezer Balances Short and Long-term Data Management Goals

Explore the data strategy frameworks Deezer uses for scalable growth to support one of the largest global music streaming platforms.
Last updated
May 2, 2024

For those interested in looking under the hood of one of the largest streaming platforms in the world, Elsie Hoffet, Data team manager at Deezer, sat down with Secoda to walk through the frameworks in which Deezer uses to streamline its data operations with the purpose of supporting scalable growth. Deezer is one of the world’s largest independent music experiences platforms, with thousands of artists, albums, and over 120 million songs available. With over 16 million monthly active users around the world - managing scale and complexity is critical. Catch the full recording here


  • Short-term Goals: The Foundation for Success
  • Long-term Goals: Setting the North Star
  • Data Activation and Governance
  • Balancing immediate needs and Innovation

Short-term Goals: The Foundation for Success

Short-term goals in data management are often centered around immediate improvements in data quality, governance, and efficiency. For Deezer, this entails identifying and prioritizing data consumer needs across different divisions, ensuring data reliability, and establishing a harmonized approach to data governance. 

Immediate Improvements in Data Quality and Governance

A primary focus of short-term goals in data management is on immediate improvements in data quality and governance. This encompasses efforts to enhance the accuracy, consistency, and reliability of data across the organization. For Deezer, this meant prioritizing projects that directly impact the quality of data, such as implementing data quality checks, establishing data governance frameworks, and enhancing documentation practices. These initiatives are essential for creating a solid foundation on which long-term data management strategies can be built.

Prioritizing Data Consumer Needs

Understanding and prioritizing the needs of data consumers within the organization is crucial for setting effective short-term goals. This involves engaging with different divisions and teams to identify their specific data challenges and requirements. By doing so, Deezer ensures that short-term initiatives are aligned with the operational needs of the organization, thereby increasing the relevance and impact of these efforts. Addressing the immediate needs of data consumers not only supports day-to-day operations but also builds trust and buy-in for broader data management strategies.

Establishing a Harmonized Approach

Another key aspect of short-term goals in data management is the establishment of a harmonized approach to handling data across the organization. This entails creating standardized processes, guidelines, and practices for data management to ensure consistency and efficiency. For Deezer, harmonizing data management practices involved centralizing data cataloging and quality initiatives and working closely with data consumer teams to ensure alignment. This collaborative approach helps to minimize redundancies, reduce errors, and streamline data workflows, making it easier to align on and achieve longer-term objectives.

Leveraging Technology and Tools

The strategic use of technology and tools is integral to achieving short-term goals in data management. For organizations like Deezer, this means adopting and integrating Secoda to create a central source of truth for data cataloging, documentation, governance processes, data monitoring and quality checks. These tools support immediate improvements by automating manual tasks, enhancing visibility into data assets, and providing actionable insights that drive decision-making. Investing in the right technology and tools in the short term can significantly accelerate progress towards long-term goals.

Building a Culture of Data Literacy

Finally, fostering a culture of data literacy within the organization is a vital short-term goal that supports the overarching data management strategy. Initiatives to enhance data literacy involve training programs, workshops, and ongoing education to empower employees with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively use data. By prioritizing data literacy in the short term, Deezer lays the groundwork for a more data-driven organization, where informed decisions and innovative solutions are the norm.

Long-term Goals: Setting the North Star

Deezer’s long-term objectives in data management revolve around aligning with the company’s overarching business goals. This involves extensive brainstorming to understand the 'why' behind their efforts, ultimately leading to a clear definition of 'what' needs to be achieved and 'how' to get there. By setting clear long-term goals, such as cost efficiency and operational excellence, Deezer ensures that its data strategy is not only focused but also adaptable to future needs and challenges.

Identifying the "Why"

A pivotal step in setting long-term goals is identifying the "why" behind these objectives. This involves understanding the core mission and vision of the organization and how data management can support these aims. By anchoring data management goals in the company's broader objectives, Deezer ensures that these targets are relevant and contribute to significant organizational achievements.

Defining the "What" and the "How"

Once the "why" is established, the next steps involve defining the "what" and the "how" of achieving these long-term goals. This requires a detailed roadmap that outlines the specific initiatives, projects, and actions needed to reach these objectives. For instance, Deezer's focus on data governance and quality highlights the "what" in their strategy. The "how" is addressed through the implementation of specific projects like enhancing data reliability scores, fostering data literacy among teams, and ensuring data is actionable and accessible across the organization.

Setting Clear North Star KPIs

A critical aspect of setting long-term goals is the establishment of clear, measurable key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs serve as the North Star, guiding the organization's efforts and providing a means to track progress. For Deezer, long-term goals such as cost efficiency on the data platform and operational excellence are quantifiable and serve as benchmarks for success. These KPIs enable Deezer to monitor its advancement towards its long-term objectives, allowing for adjustments and optimizations along the way.

Balancing Priorities

An inherent challenge in setting long-term goals is balancing these objectives with the immediate needs and priorities of the organization. This involves a dynamic and flexible approach to resource allocation, prioritization of projects, and stakeholder engagement. Elsie's strategy at Deezer underscores the importance of this balance, ensuring that while long-term goals are pursued, short-term achievements are also recognized and celebrated. This balance is crucial for maintaining momentum and ensuring sustained organizational support for data management initiatives.

Continuous Evaluation and Adaptation

Finally, setting long-term goals is not a one-time activity but an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation and adaptation. As the business environment, technology landscape, and organizational needs evolve, so too must the long-term goals. Deezer's approach to regularly revisiting and refining these objectives exemplifies the need for flexibility and responsiveness in the face of change. This iterative process ensures that long-term goals remain aligned with the organization's evolving aspirations and capabilities.

Data Activation and Governance

Central to Deezer’s strategy is the concept of data activation. This involves making data not only available but also actionable for business users. Through initiatives like developing a data reliability score, Deezer aims to empower its teams with the tools and knowledge necessary to leverage data effectively, thus driving revenue and operational efficiency.

Data activation is about transforming data into actionable insights that can be leveraged across the organization to drive decision-making, operational efficiency, and innovation. This process involves several key elements, including data accessibility, usability, integration, and empowerment of end-users.

Accessibility and Discoverability

For data to be activated, it must first be accessible and easily discoverable by those who need it. This means breaking down silos and ensuring that data is not just stored in a centralized location but is also cataloged in a way that makes it easy to find. Deezer, for example, employs a data governance strategy that includes documenting data assets in a tool like Secoda. This documentation makes it easier for teams across the organization to find the data they need when they need it, thereby speeding up the decision-making process.

Usability and Reliability

Data activation also depends on the usability and reliability of the data. It's not enough for data to be accessible; it must also be accurate, timely, and presented in a user-friendly format. Deezer’s initiative to develop a data reliability score is a prime example of enhancing data usability. This score provides users with an immediate understanding of the data's quality, including its accuracy, documentation, testing status, update frequency, and usage. By quantifying the reliability of data assets, Deezer empowers its users to make informed decisions about which datasets to utilize for their analytical and operational needs.

Integration and Workflow Embedment

Effective data activation requires the integration of data into the daily workflows of the end-users. This means embedding data insights into the tools and platforms that employees use regularly, thereby reducing barriers to data utilization. Data activation tools and strategies that allow for seamless integration—such as APIs, analytics, and real-time dashboards—ensure that insights derived from data are readily available at the point of decision-making.

Empowerment through Data Literacy

Finally, data activation involves empowering all users, not just data professionals, to leverage data effectively. This requires a commitment to data literacy across the organization. By educating team members on how to interpret data and apply it to their specific roles, companies can unlock the full potential of their data assets. Deezer’s approach to breaking silos and encouraging collaboration among data teams is a testament to the importance of fostering a culture where data literacy and data-driven decision-making are prioritized.

The Broader Implications of Data Activation

Data activation transcends technical processes, reflecting a holistic strategy that aligns data management practices with business objectives. It's about creating an ecosystem where data is not just a passive asset but an active driver of innovation and growth. As demonstrated by Deezer, the successful activation of data requires a combination of technology, governance, and culture. By focusing on these areas, organizations can ensure that their data not only supports but also accelerates their strategic goals.

Balancing immediate needs and Innovation

The balance between maintaining existing data infrastructure and embracing innovation is a delicate one. Deezer’s approach focuses on incremental innovation, where new technologies and practices are tested on a small scale before wider implementation. This strategy allows for continuous improvement without disrupting the stability of their vast data ecosystem.

Deezer’s methodology provides valuable insights into how organizations can drive innovation while maintaining their foundational priorities:

Experimentation as a Catalyst for Innovation

Experimentation is a key mechanism to foster innovation within Deezer's data management practices. By initiating small-scale experiments and pilot projects, they can test new ideas, technologies, and methodologies in a controlled environment. This approach minimizes risk and allows for rapid iteration based on feedback and outcomes. For instance, the introduction of data contracts and advanced pipeline testing at Deezer started as experiments, enabling the team to evaluate their effectiveness and scalability before broader implementation.

Prioritization Through Strategic Alignment

A critical aspect of balancing priorities and innovation is the ability to align data management initiatives with the organization's overall business objectives. Elsie achieves this by engaging in extensive brainstorming sessions to identify the 'why' behind every initiative, ensuring that each project directly contributes to Deezer's long-term goals. This strategic alignment helps in distinguishing between what's urgent and what's important, allowing Elsie and her team to allocate resources and attention to initiatives that promise the greatest impact on the company's growth and operational excellence.

Stakeholder Engagement for Sustained Buy-in

By involving stakeholders from different divisions in the planning and execution phases of data management projects, she ensures that the initiatives have broad support and are well-aligned with user needs. This collaborative approach not only fosters a culture of innovation within the organization but also ensures that the data management strategies are pragmatic and grounded in real-world requirements.

Incremental Innovation for Continuous Improvement

Adopting an iterative approach to innovation allows Elsie to introduce new technologies and processes gradually. By breaking down long-term goals into smaller, manageable projects, she can implement changes incrementally, assessing their impact and adjusting as necessary. This method of incremental innovation ensures that Deezer's data management practices evolve continuously, without disrupting existing operations or overwhelming the team with drastic changes.

Navigating the Future with Flexibility and Foresight

Deezer's strategy for balancing priorities and innovation is characterized by its flexibility and forward-looking perspective. They are open to exploring new technologies and methodologies, while also being mindful of the organization's core data management needs. This adaptive approach ensures that Deezer can navigate the rapidly changing data landscape effectively, leveraging innovation to enhance its competitive edge while steadfastly maintaining its operational priorities.

By prioritizing data quality, governance, and efficiency in the short term, organizations can lay a strong foundation for achieving their long-term objectives. Embracing experimentation and focusing on data activation are essential strategies for driving innovation and ensuring that data management practices evolve in line with business needs. 

Learn more about Secoda

Secoda is the easiest way to explore, understand, and use data. We work with companies like Deezer, Chipotle, Vanta, and Cardinal health to get visibility into the health of their entire stack, reduce costs, and help their data teams run more efficiently.

Secoda consolidates your data catalog, lineage, documentation, and monitoring tools into a single data management platform. Get a custom demo here.

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