Data as a means of growth – How to get there?


Most Organizations today aspire to be a data driven company but what exactly does it mean and what does it take you to get there? I am going to put my thoughts here based on my interactions with several of the mid size companies(less than a billion in revenue) in United States.

As we have seen in the last few years, the term “Big Data” was going through its hype curve and most of the leaders thought (still thinking I guess) that “Data Driven Enterprise” is all about Big Data. To be “Data-Driven” means creating a

mindset throughout the fabric of the business to continually use analytics to make fact-based business decisions. This doesn’t have anything to do with “Big Data”. I recently got a call form the Human Resources leader of a fairly large IT services company (that has over 30,000 employees across the globe) and their request was so simple – can you work with our HR team to start thinking the “Data Way” in their day to day business! The goal is to get to a stage where the use of data and analytics by leaders and employees becomes a natural part of their day-to-day workflows – leverage all relevant data assets in order to make sound decisions quickly and lead their organizations to business and operational success.

In order for an organization to become data-driven, several steps are required. They need to evaluate where they stand, where they need to go and how to get there. Based on the assessment, they need to define how they are going to move forward to become truly Data Driven. Below are the various aspects of how they would leverage the data (and Information) – in the order of priority.

  1. What happened?

The first and foremost thing is – do you know your business based on facts? Your past data should tell you that. Do you have the ability to get this at your fingertips? If not, go do that now and that is your step one in your journey to become “Data Driven”

  1. What is happening now?

Now that you have a handle of your past, let us go and figure out what is happening now? I spoke to the leader of a national level construction company and he said he will come to know about the idle time of their construction equipments (due to lack of supplies to do the work or even labor to perform the operations) only at the closing of their quarter – by that time he has lost millions of dollars!

  1. Why did it happen?

You know you missed the boat or messed up something but can you find out why? You want to know why your sales team is consistently missing their targets, you want to know why your customers are no more your customers, you want to know why your employees are leaving to your competitors, you want to know where the fraudulent transactions are inserted and the list goes on.

  1. What might happen?

Do I know that the upcoming college event this Friday will make me run out of my coffee shop supplies? With the delayed winter, will the farmers need winter fertilizers now or after a month? How will the “Brexit” impact my employees’ immigration aspirations?

  1. What should I do about it?

You are now prepared to handle the worst (and the best too) and it’s all based on the data and you are all set to make informed decisions. You have data that you trust, standardized and governed across the enterprise and can drive your decisions. This is your “Aha” moment – you are in control of your business and it completely based on Data.

  1. What’s out there that I don’t know about?

It’s all about Innovation. Earlier Innovation used to be for growth but now you need to innovate even for your existence. You need to build new products, find new solutions and for that you need to dive deep into the large data assets you have. You don’t have a question at hand to look an answer for but you know there is a lot out there.You go swim and fish for those things that you have never thought about.

Here is a simple graphics by putting all these together for your reference (Please click on the image to zoom out for better readability)

Maturity Graph Blog

Do you see this resonating with your organization and its maturity level? Please let me know and I will be happy for a discussion.



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