One thing that all companies have in common is an abundance of methods that generate data from IT applications, equipment, machinery and intelligent monitoring devices. What to do with such data, that is the real question.
The collection and management of data for the sake of it, is pointless. Compiling a well thought out data management strategy that captures data from multiple, disparate sources, cleansing, enriching and refining such data, making it universally available to colleagues is a huge step in the right direction. However, the real skill is deriving genuine value from your data assets. Rather than rush headlong into so-called business intelligence or management information reporting projects organisations should first ask the most important question, 'why?'.
"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing." -Peter F. Drucker
Modern organisations recognise that real business benefit and long-term sustainable value is unlocked by empowering people to achieve more. Forward-thinking business leaders know that command and control is no longer acceptable to high-value teams and that agility, fail fast, tenacity, strategic alignment, lack of fear are some of the key facets to achieving innovation and disruption. However, some structure and discipline are also required, the ability to measure successes and failures will optimise outcome, and the overall goal is sustainable and profitable growth.
The combination of highly empowered, motivated teams with fast access to the data they need to make informed decisions is a potent combination and is fast becoming the new norm for successful organisations.
Compare your organisation to your disruptive competitors and make a finger in the air prediction of how you will repeat past successes in the modern, digital economy. Are you prepared? Will you continue to grow? Will you survive as-is or does your organisation need to change? Is your organisation a leader or a follower? What more can you do to maximise market opportunity through innovation or disruption?
How does data help?
Many large enterprises already have robust data management policies and fantastic management information available to them, yet they continue to invest in “big data”, corporate performance management, machine learning etc.
The emergence of the Microsoft Cloud is bringing such technologies to SME’s at a rapid pace and at an affordable cost. The ability to get a 360-degree view of your business, products, customer base, supply chain, stock, debt and cash in a single, joined up and coordinated manner is an achievable target (nay at must!) for the modern enterprise.
A good data management strategy will allow your organisation to cross join related sets of data in imaginative and informative ways to gain valuable insight into things like:
- Which products are profitable, which ones are candidates for de-listing?
- How reliant are you on key suppliers, how reliant are they on you?
- How can you better partner with suppliers for increase long-term profitability to create win-win relationships?
- How can your suppliers better support your customers to develop value-add?
- Are your campaign plans optimised and aligned with you stocking policies, supported by your supply chain to avoid stock-outs?
- What is the value of lost opportunity due to lack of availability?
- What customer segments/groups are buying your products/services, via what channels and what stimulated such demand?
- What are your price sensitive products and how do you compare to competitor pricing?
- When was the last time previously lucrative customers traded with you and what are you doing to incentive them to remain loyal?
Preparing the data and making it universally available via affordable, market-leading technology is still not enough. People become empowered through respectful leadership, easy to understand targets, simple and frequent measurement and controls, training and follow-up assessments to ensure actual best practice is actually adopted and embedded across the organisation. Failure to do this critical step will lead to a culture of “do your own thing”. That is not disruption; it is chaos.
Making the first step
Crimson have a tried and trusted 4-step processes to enable an organisation to capitalise their data assets that avoid IT jargon, reaming focussed on business need. These are four steps:
- Build your data capture and data repository, aligned and right-sized to your business needs.
- Create a single version of the truth, backed by self-service reporting tools with appropriate governance.
- Create meaning and insight, backed by drillable corporate, departmental and team dashboards containing well-understood targets and key performance indicators.
- Embed transformative behaviour into your organisation by linking targets and KPI’s to alerting mechanisms, action plans and standard operating procedures.
I am hopeful that this blog post gives some insight into the reasons why our customers invest in data, but without a good understanding of why my advice is don’t start. However, if you wish to engage Crimson in a free consultative workshop to help bring clarity to your thinking you can follow this link and register your interest in Crimson’s free Data Pathfinder Workshop .