Most companies tell us that they want to become a data-driven organisation and we will explore practical steps to achieving this over a series of blog posts but let’s start at the beginning by considering what the phrase means and why it is important.
A quick web search will yield a host of definitions but in the interest of keeping things as simple as possible I would offer the following concise version: “a data-driven organisation is one that uses data as the primary input to its decision making and business processes”.
This is not to say that becoming data-driven should drive out creativity and instinct. Many good analysts start with a hunch and then use insight, derived from data, to confirm, disprove or explain a hypothesis. The crucial point is not to allow pre-conception and bias to overshadow what the data is revealing.
In today’s connected world, every business has the potential to become a data-driven organisation. From advertising to zoology, businesses generate data that, if harnessed correctly, can be used to drive performance improvement, differentiate in the market or even enable completely new business models.
The impetus for this started as a means of a few early adopters gaining advantage over competitors but as the data-driven approach is becoming more common, ignoring it risks your company being at a disadvantage within its sector.
An important aspect of becoming a data-driven organisation is having access to appropriate, trusted information in the right place and at the right time, and we will explore how to achieve this in future posts. This is not, however, the whole story. Organisations should also put in place mechanisms (whether human or automated) for acting upon what the data reveals. Take a simple KPI metric on a dashboard, for example: if this indicates that something is amiss then what action is a user of the dashboard supposed to take or what automated action should occur? If the answer is “nothing” or “don’t know” then why is it being displayed, or even calculated, at all?
This series of Blog posts will discuss the steps that a company can take on the road to becoming a data-driven organisation. As with most activities requiring change, this journey starts with “why?” not “what?” and this will be the topic of my next post “The Single Most Important Question Ever Posed”.
Is your company considering how it might adopt a data-driven approach? Is it already well on the way to achieving this? Do you agree with my synopsis above or not? Leave a comment, Like and Share as appropriate and drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss further.
Steve Crosson Smith Client Director, SDG Group
Helping companies to become data-driven organisations by enabling them to organise, analyse and visualise data