Data driven business advantage

Taking the devil out of the detail

I recently came across an interesting infographic, developed as a result of research into the gap between CEOs and information managers.

The study led by Iron Mountain was carried out in January/February 2015 and covered 900 UK organisations. Here are some headline statistics:

  • 89% of UK business leaders don’t fully understand what their information managers do
  • 56% of UK records and information managers admit they don’t know exactly what senior business leaders want and need from information
  • 66% are confused about the information needs of colleagues in marketing, manufacturing and finance

How data-driven businesses gain advantage

This was reinforced by another global study – “The Virtuous Circle of Data” by the Economist Intelligence Unit in late 2014 – which found that:

  • Only 27% of firms say their employees have access to the data they need.
  • 42% admit that access to their data is cumbersome.

The report concludes that data-driven businesses, who …

  • Give employees access to the data they need
  • Provide user-friendly analysis tools
  • Present the data in in a visual and impactful format, such as dashboards

… are far better at extracting insights from data and applying them to the business. Their employees are also more engaged with data tools and initiatives as a result.

How to show what is important

As you may know, we began our journey in the world of critical engineering, where unimaginable quantities of data are generated. Whilst we found that some engineering teams were happy to look through the detail to find what they wanted, their managers and directors were not. This led us to developing reporting tools and suites, culminating in the bespoke dashboards we create today.

Making data accessible so that it supports business decision making at all levels is as important as gathering the data in the first place. In my experience the key areas to focus on are:

  • Find out what information is needed and how it should be presented to be most useful
  • Make data capture quick and easy so your data is up-to-date and your MI is realtime, or as close as is practical
  • Present the data in a consistent and directly comparable format
  • Make it visual – let the key areas that need addressing jump out so they cannot be missed

These apply in whatever area of the enterprise the management information is to be used, whether IT, sales and marketing, production, operational risk or facilities management.