Towards a data-driven organization

We are overwhelmed by the amount of data and the available options of usage, while management is disappointed by the lack of tangible results in the short term.

“Brynjolfsson has shown years ago that simple data-driven decisions increase stock value by 5-6%.”

The focus should not be on the short term. Instead, integrating data into the strategic core vision, seeing it as a competitive advantage to challenge intuition with data whenever it makes sense will lead to added value in the long term. Focusing on the context, the case, and the customer to avoid biases resulting from the mechanical use of past experiences. Sounds great?

“Let’s set up a new data unit in the company!”

Soon the first problems emerge: the newly created unit resides as a silo and is not involved in the value creation chain. Therefore, the acceptance of any analyses, proposed methods or outcomes is very small as it is not a joint effort. Solutions made possible with toolsets of data are not initiated by the data unit because they do not understand the business well enough to become a valuable partner. Finally, business will push potential data solutions to the sidelines requiring only reports or analyses needed in the daily routine.

“In order to overcome a primary inertia, a visible and substantial group needs to put data over intuition.”

The true recipe for data success is the perception of data elsewhere in the organization, not in the data team itself (Newman 2015). The biggest danger is that the data team is only seen as a reactive team that provides on demand reports or analyses! By working closely with stakeholders to create collaborative solutions and to facilitate the exchange of data and business knowledge, data can have a real business impact.

“Data should be considered as a kind of powerful advantage for shaping the business, because it reflects the beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of the customers.”

For a data-driven business to function, the culture must be clearly data-driven. Most people should at least embrace and value data-backed insights. But how can a culture be fashioned this way? There is a known secret to carving a certain culture:

“With leading by example, a real change can be made. Adopt the data-driven mindset.”

- Appickx