5 essential steps to becoming a data-driven organization | Op-ed

5 essential steps for data-driven organizations


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Act based on facts and data

Do you want to stay ahead of the competition and give your customers the best possible experience? Become a data-driven organization. Instead of making decisions based on opinions, gut feeling, who yells the loudest, or because “that’s just the way we’ve always done it,” your organization will take action based on data and facts.

Higher productivity and profits

A study by the MIT Center for Digital Business shows that organizations that make data-driven decisions have 4% higher productivity while earning 6% more profit. That may not seem like a lot to some, but over $1 million in profits, we’re already talking about $60,000. That amount of money can get you a pretty decent BI system. Other studies have shown that successfully using BI can lead to 33% more satisfied customers. And with IoT applications, we can save $63 billion worldwide in healthcare. You can find many advantages of data-driven working in all kinds of areas. That’s why you should make data an integral part of your company’s DNA now, in just five steps.

1. Measurable goals

Being data-driven means setting measurable goals. For example, increase customer satisfaction by 10%. That forces you to analyze both your success and your failures. Only by using data can you prove what went right or wrong and improve your performance as a continuous process.
Make your activities as measurable as possible. Not just on the management level, but for everyone. Including personal goals and smaller projects. That way, everyone can get insight into their activities and feel like they’re contributing to the organization. Reward employees and departments that achieve their goals.

2. Gather a large, diverse volume of data

Most companies are sitting on a mountain of data without even knowing it. Organize that data according to a model. Then start actively and consciously gathering data:

  1. Internal sources, for example Google Analytics, SalesForce, or other customer information.
  2. External sources like social media and information about your competitors.
  3. Besides having a lot of information, it’s important to have diverse information from different departments. For example quality of service, customer feedback, reviews, speed of service, and effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
  4. Ensure that all departments within the company ask the right questions to get the right data.

3. Work from the customer’s perspective

Many companies think from the product perspective instead of their customer’s perspective. If you want to be a genuine data-driven organization, you have to change how you think. Put your customer first. Engage them. Start a dialogue, instead of just talking at them.
Balancing data with innovation and creativity creates a more relevant experience, product, and/or service for your customers. But in order to do this, data has to be widely accessible within the company. You can achieve this using business analytics and (BI) software.

4. Data accessible to everyone

The biggest danger is data that never leaves the IT or marketing departments. That would be a shame. You want everyone to have access to the data they need to do their jobs well. From book keepers to planners.
Departments can use that information to bring their priorities in line with those of their customers. They can see what’s important and align their service and activities to what matters. For many companies, this means a large culture shift.
That’s why you should appoint a manager with authority. A proponent of open data and data-driven decision-making in the company.
And let’s be honest: some understand data better than others. That’s why you should train your employees to read and analyze data. Make every employee data-literate. This enables them to work as data-driven teams and make informed decisions.

5. Involve the right people

To maximize the value of your data, you need experts, like data scientists and data analysts. They build complex algorithms and analyses and find the right information in a lake of ones and zeroes.
They not only have to understand data, but also demonstrate genuine interest in your company, market, and strategy. Someone who proactively thinks about which data sources you need, what the customers need, and how you can successfully use data to meet their needs. On top of that they should make data accessible to everyone quickly and easily. That’s the foundation of your organization, data-driven.

Quick wins

To make this a successful change, we recommend focusing on a few quick wins when starting out. Try to identify three to five of them. That’s how you can create enthusiasm and energy for more change.

In short…

  1. Gather enough (correct) data.
  2. Let the data flow through your entire organization.
  3. Data should be accessible to everyone, everywhere.
  4. Data should be quick and easy to read.

Do you want to increase your profits, productivity, and customer satisfaction? Start becoming a data-driven organization now. We’d love to help you with this. That’s our passion. Contact us for more information about (in-company) training and what we can do for your organization.

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