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Transform Your Business Into A Data-Driven Mindset

Transform Your Business Into A Data-Driven Mindset

Chief Technology Officer at BullsEye Telecom. Innovating and inspiring teams to dazzle customers. 

A typical day in the life of business leaders involves dealing with problems as they come across their desks. When leaders see a problem, they have to make decisions to solve it. This becomes easier when there are past events or trends that a leader can look at to help guide their decision-making.

Conscious decisions made by humans are based on their perception of what the outcome will look like after the decisions are made. Data has become the guiding vector for human minds to make conscious decisions. In a business environment, data are collected as your business conducts transactions on a daily basis. The huge tomes of data in any business can be stored, analyzed and studied to transform them into information. We review, compare, synthesize, debate and discuss this information to make decisions.

During this process, the information becomes knowledge to be used within the organization. As this becomes a process within the organization, we start moving toward forming principles based on the knowledge of data-driven decision-making. This leads to the formation of organizational wisdom resulting from structured methods of understanding, using and consuming data as insights to make decisions within the organization.

Identify The Sources Of Data

My approach of transforming an organization into a data-driven mindset starts with understanding how business is being conducted within the organization. A business provides value to its clients or users through the products or services it delivers.

A simplistic way to define a business would be to map the client journey. The client reaches out to acquire the product through the delivery channel. A quote is generated and the client reviews it and places an order. The order gets processed, an invoice is generated, the client pays and the product is delivered to the client. During this client journey, a business will acquire data in the form of raw numbers stored in the system for quotes, orders, invoices and revenue collected from the client.

Each of these functions may reside in different or the same systems. Your organization will also have different types of data structures or database technologies to store these data during each functional block, starting from product definition, quoting and order processing to billing and revenue collection.

You’ll have other data on products and how the product was processed and delivered to the client to help make decisions on improving performance for your business. The first step involves understanding the collection of data regarding how business gets done and then understanding the systems and technology in which data are stored as business is performed by the organization. Mapping the data journey from a customer perspective makes it easier to align different business functions.

Build A Data Team

This is a real challenge for most organizations as they begin the data-driven decision-making journey. Should you start by bringing expertise from outside or do you build it internally? I recommend a hybrid approach.

The true value of data comes from the organization’s employees through the process of decision-making. This is a cultural change and should involve individuals throughout the organization. Involving an outside team of consultants who don’t have skin in the game after the solution is designed makes it harder to embed a culture of data-driven decision-making. So, the initial journey can involve having outside subject matter experts brainstorming and sharing ideas with an internal team. They can help kickstart the transformation.

It also helps for a C-level executive to sponsor the initiative, drive the journey and form a team. Members of the technical team that work on data-processing systems should be identified early and given appropriate training. Always remember the goal is cultural transformation and not just building the technology for the data warehouse. The focus should be on building a culture of decision-making supported by data.

Select The Right Data Technology And Infrastructure

Understanding how data is stored as business is conducted by different units of the organization is the initial step in this journey. Another crucial aspect that became evident for me was the selection of an infrastructure for storing and harvesting the data — that is, the data warehouse.

A decade ago, this was a barrier for most companies, as building such an infrastructure not only required massive capital investment — in many instances, upwards of millions of dollars — but also a team of experts to manage such systems. Cloud-based data warehouses have eased this burden for most technology leaders, as a data infrastructure can now be built for a fraction of the cost it was a decade ago. There are many cloud data warehouse infrastructures available, including Snowflake, Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift and Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics.

Focus On Profitability For The Greatest Impact

Choosing the problem that the team should tackle first is crucial for the success of data teams. Your solution should lead to building a process by which your organization’s members can visualize data and be able to make decisions that help drive the business.

From my experience, immediate visibility can be achieved by the data team if they start by focusing on profitability. This normally involves presenting data to finance teams and key stakeholder leaders and aligning with them to make decisions regarding profitability. The greatest impact can be achieved by presenting a visualization of how service delivery works within the organization. This can and will lead to organization-wide value chain innovation.

Becoming a data-driven company is key to the survival of any business. A successful approach involves mapping the customer journey, identifying the systems and building an accountable data team. Establishing a companywide data-driven mindset as part of your work culture will result in building a successful business.


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