Inspired in part by Bernard Marr’s 2010 book, The Intelligent Company, my goal these past several years has been to build and/or be part of data-driven business cultures. The description of the book on Amazon sums it up well, “Today’s most successful companies are Intelligent Companies that use the best available data to inform their decision-making.”
In his book, Bernard advocates for using Evidence-Based Management that is using the best available data to inform decision-makers. In parallel to this, I have been empowering companies and professionals to empower decision-makers to use more data as well. I call it data-driven decision-making, but at their cores, there are very similar approaches to managing success.
The cornerstone of the book is the five steps to more intelligent decision-making, which are:
- Step 1. More intelligent strategies — by identifying strategic priorities and agreeing your real information needs
- Step 2. More intelligent data — by creating relevant and meaningful performance indicators and qualitative management information linked back to your strategic information needs
- Step 3. More intelligent insights — by using good evidence to test and prove ideas and by analyzing the data to gain robust and reliable insights
- Step 4. More intelligent communication — by creating informative and engaging management information packs and dashboards that provide the essential information, packaged in an easy-to-read way
- Step 5. More intelligent decision-making — by fostering an evidence-based culture of turning information into actionable knowledge and real decisions.
As information and data volumes grow at explosive rates, the challenges of managing this information is turning into a losing battle for most companies. In the end they find themselves drowning in data while thirsting for insights. Combine this with an increasingly severe shortage of talent with analytics, data visualization and good communication skills, things look bleak for companies not adhering to lessons like those suggested in the Intelligent Company.
In addition, Data-Driven Cultures Do These Things:
- They embrace Big Data. They aren’t afraid of it. They relish the addition of new data sources and actively look for more.
- Managers use Evidence-Based Management techniques. Just about every choice comes based on data analysis.
- Challenges are addressed with Data. When something happens that was unexpected, the challenge is met with a data centric approach.
- The right data is being used. A lot of work goes into validating data and keeping it clean and fresh. The concept of having a data lake that supports multiple parts of the business is in place.
- They have the right analytics talent. Analysts are empowered to go out and discover not just current challenges, but look for potential ones as well.
- They know how to communicate. The sharing of information is done to benefit everyone. You won’t see lots of data trapped in silos. Data has no one true owner.
- They take action based on their data and analysis. You don’t see a lot of useless reports that kills a small forest or clog up an inbox with massive files. They keep it smart and simple.
Data-Driven cultures are a lot harder to find than they should be. In this day and age, every company should have a strategy on how to use data to drive more intelligent decisions, but they don’t. Success eludes many companies because they don’t have the 7 qualities listed above in place. If you were to ask what they look like it would be something akin to this:
· Top management is afraid of data. Senior leaders don’t even know how to use MS Excel. There is no analytics champion in the organization to spearhead data projects.
· Decisions are made based on what worked in the past, relying on experience and gut feel. There is little evidence used to go in any certain direction.
· When things don’t work out, data and analysts take the blame. You will hear a lot of “why didn’t you tell me” and “I didn’t see it coming” excuses.
· What data is being used is old, dirty, incomplete, full of errors and doesn’t tell the whole story. Reports are basically useless and just produced to look at what people generally already know. They look for what’s there, oblivious to what’s not.
· They do not share data. They hoard it. They don’t trust anyone else with access to it. The data is stored in unconnected storage places. There is no common understanding how to use data.
· They fail a lot. Success generally happens by hard work as much as luck. It’s impossible to know for sure what caused what to happen.
It’s not easy to take a company that has little or no data-driven decision-making and turn it into an Intelligent Company, but it can be done. I have done it. I have guided transitions from the stone-age to the information age. Let me show you how.
I will cover all these concepts in more in upcoming my training class on June 5-7, 2018 at Discovery Suites in Ortigas. For a list of training events, please visit www.sonicanalytics.com
Dan Meyer heads Sonic Analytics, an analytics training, consulting and outsourcing company with offices in Manila and the San Francisco Bay Area. With over 20 years in Big Data, Dan is one of the most sought after public speakers in Asia and has recently begun offering public training seminars in the United States.
We need to look at the data (analytics), plan a course of action (strategy) and share our data-driven viewpoints (presentation). So he has started an internship program under Sonic Analytics to empower the youth the use Analytic, plan Strategy and Present their views… ASP!
Sonic Analytics(www.sonicanalytics.com) brings big data analytics solutions like business intelligence, business dashboards and data storytelling to small and medium sized business looking to enhance their data-driven decision-making capabilities.