The Data Driven Business

The Data Driven Business


Data guides sound decision making, which introduces new efficiencies and potential market opportunities for an organization. A truly data-driven organization does not mean bringing onboard data scientists or adding a few staff members to the IT department. It’s an integration into the day-to-day operations.

Here are the core steps for transforming into a data-driven operation:

  1. Understand what you want to measure, and then identify the necessary data to answer those questions.
  2. Implement a top-down approach, where management actively ties department and individual goals to various metrics to compel data-driven actions by employees at all levels.
  3. Determine how frequently the data is needed.
  4. Build systems that securely collect, store, and disseminate information in the most efficient manner possible. Determine how the data is presented.
  5. Encourage staff members to utilize data to make daily and long-term decisions that impact costs, customer satisfaction, and the quality of the product/service.

When a company adapts its product offering or processes based on for example customer satisfaction data, it’s essentially showing that it cares about the customer base. For example, perhaps survey and web metric data showed an online process took too many steps. The data driven approach would include using those metrics to encourage changes, with IT and marketing working together to produce a friendlier online process.


A Cultural Shift

You have the tools in place that allow you to leverage data properly. Storage, analytics, and your business intelligence (BI) suite are all integrated and providing valuable data insights. But adoption rates of the new tools are slow, and the staff simply don’t believe new data sets will change their job or overall performance.

The truly data-driven business fundamentally changes how staff perform their jobs and how they look at the business and its unique problems. Consider these steps for instituting such a sweeping cultural change:

  • Data informs an ever-growing number of decisions across multiple business units, and positive results from data are shared with the entire organization. Over time, staff will rely less on their (potentially) biased assumptions and more on empirical data. Do not belittle staff over such assumptions, instead encourage free thinking that’s influenced by data’s conclusions.
  • Develop KPIs for various departments, so managers know how they are being measured and how they can use data tools to showcase successes.
  • Illustrate instances where data actively contradicts the “gut instinct” approach or turns certain industry assumptions on their head.


Building Internal Acceptance

Within many organizations there’s a lack of trust when it comes to data tools. Either there is not a comfort level for utilizing the BI or analytics tool, or the quality of the data itself is in question. This occurs frequently in companies where data is in various siloes as well as having systems and entire departments that do not collaborate or share key information.

Here are some best practices to increase adoption of data-based tools:

  • Consider how the new data tools are integrated into existing workflows. Will they complement these flows and allow smarter decisions, or impede the daily work?
  • Enlist power users who will plainly showcase their use of data tools improved real-world results.
  • Start small and embrace the agile approach. Change should be incremental, and companies are best served by starting with small data-driven processes and targets, and then heading towards a long-term strategy of a data-driven enterprise.

Companies adopting a data-driven culture are seeing gains in competitive market share and satisfaction rates among consumers. Despite the benefits, some companies have managed to find success for years without relying on data. Managers at such firms might be unsure about how to proceed, and should look to a qualified IT consultancy to guide them on transforming the business.

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