Mindset reset needed for better data-driven decisions

Published on the 25/08/2021 | Written by Scott Castle


And the A/NZ businesses starting to get it right…

Data is a precious asset. But the key to unlocking its potential is through its consistent, strategic and wider application in everyday situations. In this article, we unpack why making better data-driven decisions needs a mindset shift, and what steps organisations can take to make data more accessible across their wider teams.

A large majority of respondents in a recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) Analytic Services survey indicated that analysed data is essential to their company’s innovation strategy. Although data analytics has had a positive impact on customer experience and operational efficiency efforts, survey respondents believe data insights are not being sufficiently leveraged to make improvements or discover fresh business opportunities.

“Data analytics can only deliver results if people are allowed to use it.”

Closer to home, in a recent Sisense report, 67 percent of respondents said BI and analytics programs are more important or much more important to their daily operations today.

By enabling access to data across teams, departments, business units, leaders, and ‘every place in between’, your organisation can instill a data-centric culture that ‘permeates’ through your business. This ‘infused’ approach is the key to unlocking better data-driven decisions at every level.

Removing data hurdles
Training a diverse employee workforce to use highly complex, technical and specialised BI technology is unnecessary and unachievable. You’re essentially asking them to play data scientist, statistician, and business strategist. Still, organisations attempt this fruitless exercise in order to achieve a data-driven mindset.

Our relationship with technology has made us want information immediately. We now expect that same level of instantaneous insight in a work setting. The effective application of data can inform us of developing situations and deliver insights where decisions are made.

Infusing automated data intelligence into processes, workflows, and applications can provide a frictionless user experience with no complex tools or technical instruction required. Employees don’t even need to leave their workflows. With ‘analytics infusion’, actionable intelligence is presented when and where it is needed.

These automated processes will continue to be infused in organisations with a Sisense report revealing 78 percent of businesses will either maintain or increase spend on BI/data analytics initiatives, including software, tools, time, and team members, in the near future.

Risk of sharing data
There is a perceived risk in sharing data broadly. In a data-centric organisation, leaders need to blend governance with implementing useful data throughout the workforce. They understand that with careful planning, they can offset the risks to achieve the business successes that are inherent in a data-centric organisation.

Technology itself is an enabler but can also hamper deployment if team members can’t access the data when they need it.

The employee viewpoint is critical here because the technology has an impact, not just on their own team or department, but throughout the company. Instead of requiring employees to deviate from their workflow rhythm and comfort level for analysed data, why not embed analytics in their commonly used applications? By making information accessible at the point of need, organisations enable real-time decisions from within a familiar application.

C-level leads the mindset shift
Saying goodbye to data gatekeepers takes executive-level buy-in. Other than the chief data officer, leadership tends to think the application of data and analytics is reserved for specialists. A deficiency in skills and training is not only limited to the workforce at large; it can also be an impediment to executives.

It’s time to think differently and gain a rudimentary understanding of what can be gained from data to ‘better lead the troops’. Setting the example, by gaining a familiarity of the methods and approaches involved in creating insights from data, enables leaders to embrace data-informed strategies and nurture a data-driven culture.

An understanding of the insights required, an appreciation for the value of clean data, and the capacity to recognise gaps in the data ecosystem – these are the factors that allow leaders to re-orchestrate the way operational decisions are made, internally and even externally. This belief in data’s unique ability to fuel business value forms the basis for creating a data analytics culture that is scalable.

Who is getting it right?
There are thousands of great organisations currently reaping the rewards of infusing analytics into their workflows. One organisation getting it right is Australian Fintech Profectus, which whittled a 20 minute search query to only 20 seconds by infusing a robust data analytics solution.

Meanwhile Air Canada, serving more than 50 million passengers every year, leverage data analytics to build powerful proofs of concept, such as pushing actionable data to their end users (both frontline employees and executives). This enabled them to look at highly important data that deals with their day-to-day duties to ultimately improve and add insights into all aspects of safety across Air Canada.

More recently, Bakers Delight announced they are leveraging analytics to benefit internal stakeholders and franchisees by reducing the likelihood of bakery items selling out, as well as providing more personalized shopping experiences through customer loyalty initiatives to ultimately benefit the customer.

Blending people and processes
Democratising the data is only one obstacle. Data analytics can only deliver results if people are allowed to use it. When everyone within an organisation has access integrated via their existing workflows, they have data analytics at their fingertips to perform their jobs better. Moving from where the data is to where the work is completed is a thing of the past. Instead, the infusion of analytics reveals insights and promotes decision making there and then.

To derive full benefit from accumulated data, organisations must consistently and proactively promote and inspire a data-driven culture, starting with C-level commitment and granting each employee data access infused in their workflows.

Scott CastleABOUT SCOTT CASTLE//
Scott is the VP & GM for Cloud Data Teams at Sisense. He brings over 25 years of experience in software development and product management at leading technology companies including Adobe, Electric Cloud, and FileNet. Scott is a prolific writer and speaker on all things data, appearing at events like the Gartner Enterprise Data Conference, Data Champions, and Strata Data NYC.

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