Why become Data Driven? (Data Driven Work Management, Part 2)

Why become Data Driven? (Data Driven Work Management, Part 2)

Part 2 from our series of posts extracted from our “Data Driven Work Management” Whitepaper.

March 2021

In the last article, we looked at what being a Data Driven Work Management means, the value of Data, and how AI and next generation tech is dependent upon these principles. This time we are looking at the why, and asking the question- “Why bother becoming Data Driven”?

Recognising the Value of Data

Make no mistake — there are many businesses with field based teams, that are incredibly good at what they do, operating on gut and experience. The question is, can operating on gut and experience be sustainable, over a consistent period of time? The simple answer is no, and there are numerous examples of companies that, armed with a data driven approach, have gone from new entrant in an established market, to utter dominator:

  • Netflix, founded in 1997, recently surpassed Walt Disney Co as the United States’ number 1 media company by revenue.
  • Amazon is now the world’s largest retailer
  • Uber is the largest private transport company, despite owning no vehicles
  • Airbnb is the world’s largest accommodation provider, despite owning no hotels
Data democratization means that everybody has access to data and there are no gatekeepers that create a bottleneck at the gateway to the data. The goal is to have anybody use data at any time to make decisions with no barriers to access or understanding

- Bernard Marr, author of Big Data in Practice

Successful implementation of Business Intelligence is often summarised with the ‘Golden Triangle’ — People, Process and Technology working holistically.

Jeremy Wagner, MBA, adds​ ​“having the data that drives your individual business within your organisation, can be the difference between being a leader in the market, or floundering when an insignificant company armed with REAL data, the right processes, the right people driving it, and having technology ready to execute on a plan comes into the picture and steals all of your business away from you (Southwest, Blackberry, Taxi/Uber, Blackberry/iPhone).”

The 6 Big Benefits of Being Data Driven

Here, we have tried to keep it short and simple and provide, what we think, are the biggest answers to the question of ‘Why bother with Data Driven’.

1. Awareness

Understanding if customers are happy, discarding poor business practices and spotting new revenue opportunities are common place and intuitive in Data Driven cultures. The purpose of data is not to reinforce decisions already made.

[Forward-looking companies] are tolerant of questioning — even dissent — about business decisions being made, as long as the questioning is based on data and their analysis.

2. Responsiveness

Being proactive (such as spotting customers that might need work carried out in the field before they realise themselves) and using historical, real-time, ‘right-time’ and predictive data to inform decisions results in a business that can pivot with the organisational agility of a startup.

3. Consistency

Many WM businesses have individuals upon which thousands or even millions of revenue can be derived. These ‘critical cog individuals’ operate on intuition and experience to plan, liaise with customers and respond to issues. A big problem arises when these ‘walking data silos’ leave, when there is a succession issue or something significant changes.

The value of having a data-driven organization is that you have consistency over time.

4. Longevity

Data Driven WM businesses spread data and knowledge around the organisation: people understand how decisions are made. Coupled with consistency, this bolsters company longevity by ensuring operations are based on systems and data in the long term, and not gut and experience: which can be dangerously short term.

5. Feedback

The very best Data Driven WM businesses don’t just use data to respond in the now, but actively curate and recycle the insights generated from their data to change and grow their operations. This can provide a significant competitive edge over other businesses that remain stuck in their own echo chambers. Having ‘built in market research’ provides immediate feedback and organisation agility that can disrupt an entire school of thinking around ‘how things should be done’.

6. Fast, confident Decision Making

Human intuition is remarkable and many businesses thrive on the ability of their staff to make gut decisions that outwardly appear almost divine. The truth is, when human intuition is ‘on the money’ it’s because the decision is based on facts and data. Elevating and systemising this process such that it is integral, automated and not ‘hit and miss’ dramatically increases the speed and consistency of decision making.

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