Everyone knows that it is the perfect time for organizations to embark on a data journey and those that do not follow suit will just perish and die.
Succeeding in getting big data and analytics right goes beyond putting in place a set of tools or hiring a bunch of data scientists. While most organizations recognize the importance of data backed decision making for their sustained growth, they forget that it needs to be accompanied by sowing the seeds of and nurturing a data culture. Without a shift in culture towards data, organizations just won’t get it right.
Team Computer’s, in its twelve years of providing business intelligence and visualization tools to enterprises and startups alike, has worked with organizations to not only get the data architecture and infrastructure in place but also create strategies for building and nurturing data cultures within organizations.
Winston Churchill summed up this failure during WWII when he said (1943)
“The difficulty is not in winning the war; it is in persuading the people to let you win it” The same can be said for a culture of analytics – analytics is not the challenge, it’s persuading your employees to leverage analytics and data to make better business decisions and harness the value from your data” says Abhisheck Bhardwaj, Head of Alteryx practice at Team Computers.
Here are a few steps that organizations need to keep in mind to create a thriving data culture:
Measure Aggressively: Establish the company’s metrics for success and then derive the corresponding metrics for each function and team from this. For example, imagine you are a manufacturer of FMCG products and want to increase your profit by 20% in the next financial year. Define the contribution of operations, distribution channels, direct sales, marketing etc to this 20%. Do operations need to reduce its inventory and sourcing costs by 15%? What part of this has to come from increased marketing? Does your distribution network have to increase by multifold? Communicate these metrics in an effective manner to your employees and encourage them to define measure and monitor all aspects that contribute to the KPIs defined by them to achieve this.
At Team Computers, we follow the same practice. As our MD, Ranjan Chopra, says, “Data is the new oil. And all of us have our own oil fields at Team Computers. Our day starts with data analytics and ends with synthesis.”
Unify it all: Just because data is stored in silos, does not mean it should not or cannot talk to each other. It is imperative that the data from different sources talk to each other to help achieve the unified goal of an organization. For example, if marketing leads are not connected to their sales outcomes, the quality of such leads can never be improved. Or if a sale isn’t linked to inventory, then it’ll either lead to failure in fulfilling orders or high inventory costs, both of which are undesirable.
The right tools and technology are imperative: Provide employees with the right training and tools to get data out of Excel and into formats where analysis is less cumbersome. There is a range of tools available in the market addressing different aspects of the journey such as Tableau for visualization to Alteryx for data blending and predictive analytics. Each of them address different needs and can be useful to different team and functions within the organization. Pick the tool that best addresses their needs and see the wonders it can do to their productivity.
Deepak Rai, a BI enthusiast and head of the Auto and FMCG practice at Team Computers, firmly believes that „each aspect of the decision making today at the organization level is yielding more opportunities to look deeper for better, faster and cheaper solutions.
This is becoming the theme of how organizations are transforming. Becoming increasingly data obsessed. So much so that even cooking classes is measuring customer satisfaction using both qualitative and quantitative data points‟
Remove reliance on instinct completely: The shift in mindset from „gut-based‟ to „data- based‟ decision is difficult and sometimes needs to be led from top down. No decisions should be taken without effective data points. Ask why, and only accept answers backed by data. If no internal data is available, use data from research/surveys.
Show them the benefit: Help employees understand how the use of data will benefit them. There are two primary fears that people have when shifting to a data-driven culture: first, that they will be scrutinized (and potentially punished) because everything is being measured more publicly. Second, that becoming more numbers-focused will cause it to feel like a less personal work environment. Leadership must be able to address these concerns.
As employees of your organization start using data on a daily basis, they will start noticing the benefits and become increasingly addicted to it. The firing of the bullets may need assistance, but once the trigger is pressed, you will see it gain its own momentum.
About the Author:
Founded in 1987 by Ranjan Chopra, an alumnus of IIT-Kanpur, Team Computers emerged as a leading IT Infrastructure and Information Solution Provider in the last two decades. Team Computers views itself as a bridge between the world of business needs, and the world of affordable and high quality IT solutions. With 25 offices & 260+ support locations across India and 1,300++ Team Members on-board nationwide, 1800 happy customers over 800 multi-skilled engineers across locations, it has 1800+ Active Happy Customers Nation-wide. It is a ISO 9001:2000 certified company, CMM Level – 3 Certified.