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“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
Have you ever witnessed situations where experienced managers are guessing which direction to choose, instead of making data-driven business decisions?
I believe that a good balance between intuition and data is the key to success, but data should be at the heart of strategic decision making in businesses. It helps you to understand what makes a difference to your organization and prevents you from wasting energy on useless actions.
Making sense of data is a challenge, especially for many small and midsize companies. Data analysis is not just charts and graphs. You need something that is meaningful and that a decision-maker on whatever level of your company can connect with.
Here are few things that small companies should consider:
1. Ask yourself why you ought to invest in data analytics.
If you want to move to data-driven decision-making processes, you’ll need to decide which will be the benefits of better data analysis and how much those benefits worth.
2. Define objectives before beginning analysis.
Find questions you’ll need to answer. It helps you to stay focused on the right data and to save time and money. Don’t collect everything “just in case”.
Identify what data you already have and what data you need to collect.
3. Begin your data collection on day one. It will prevent you from flying blind in the future.
Maybe now it doesn’t seem like a necessary thing because you have so much to do, but after some time you will for sure face a moment when you won’t be able to find the information that you need: about your previous project, client, employee etc.
4. Start using a CRM system and don’t make a mess of it. Analyze customer’s feedback. Measure the customer’s behavior.
It will take you some time and energy, but it will be worth it.
Data from CRM system can be very helpful when you are making a strategic decision, looking for the best lead generation source, trying to extend your product portfolio, contacting your old clients to check how they are doing or asking for their business reference.
5. Create a system. BI Tool, SharePoint, Excel… – choose whatever works best for you.
Choosing the right BI tool can help you to explore valuable insights and apply them for business advantage.
If you decide to use a BI tool, make sure you consider user factors as user experience, product integration and the maturity level of the portfolio.
Remember that the solution must be easy and fast to adopt in the short term.
6. And the most important one: you can’t do it alone. Cooperate!
If you’re serious about making data-driven decisions the rule in your organization, you must create a culture which is accepted by all your team members.