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  • Writer's pictureSarah Kalin

In the Information Age, Data take the Wheel!

What are data-driven organizations?

All companies have data, from sales records and customer lists to inventories and balance sheets. Successful companies see these numbers stack up in a hurry - a side effect of any well-run business. Where a data-driven organization differs is how these records are utilized. Instead of simply collecting data and pulling it out at tax time, data-driven organizations are making data (and insights derived from data) a central part in both their culture and their decision-making processes.

What does a data-driven company do differently?

How can data be an important part of culture? Making the decision to be data-driven requires some drastic shifts in how information is presented and shared across the company. Employees need to have access to business intelligence reporting to fully understand which metrics the business is targeting. This exposure impacts culture in a couple ways. First, the shared information offers greater transparency into decisions being made and creates accountability in groups responsible for those decisions. Second, by seeing a broader picture of the business every employee is empowered to consider how they can be impacting things positively. So, in addition to transparency and accountability, openness to new ideas is a key part of any successful data-driven organization. Employees need to be able to pitch ideas and believe they'll be heard. Essentially, the company must hire smart people, share a complete picture with them, and then listen to their ideas.

Furthermore, a data-driven organization needs solid processes to collect, analyze, and base decisions on insights from data. Luckily, as we mentioned before, every business collects data. The second step, though, requires hiring business intelligence professionals to analyze what the business has collected and translating data into actionable business insights. The final, and most important step, is the hardest to achieve: making decisions based on what the data is telling you. This last step is the most challenging because so often those insights fly in the face of our gut feelings, experience, or theory. There will be people who do not embrace analytics because it does not support their preconceived ideas. To achieve the benefits of data-driven processes, though, a company has to prioritize data insights over personal instinct.

Benefits of becoming data driven

Why tackle those hurdles and make those changes? Because the rewards are vast! Data-driven organizations can detect opportunities and react to change more swiftly because their reports are already looking for both. Hiring business intelligence professionals allows a company to: understand the impact of their decisions, see patterns or anomalies in their operations, use data about the past to predict the future, and identify areas to focus or deprioritize. What you invest in reporting and analytics more than pays for itself in terms of cost-savings and higher revenues.

To recap

Becoming a data-driven organization requires culture, process, and attitude adjustments but will make any company more competitive in their industry. Reach out to a business intelligence professional and be ready to listen to what they suggest!

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