I’m currently working with a client who is very immature when it comes to data analysis. This particular client has no history of analyzing data and barely any history of reporting. Their idea of analysis is looking at a few finance reports to see how the business is doing.
Now, if this particular client was a small business, I’d have no problem with this approach….but they aren’t. They are a multi-million dollar business with multiple departments spread across multiple states. They really should no better – and their CEO said as much to me during our first conversation.
I’ve been working with this client to set up processes to collect, analyze and use data throughout their business. When I started the project, I spoke to the CEO about the need to not only work on data collection and analytics but also the data ‘culture’ within the business. The agreement was that I would work on the data collection/analysis aspects and the CEO would drive the cultural change needed. Not ideal but that’s how these projects go sometimes.
According to a conversation I had with the CEO a few weeks ago, the project has been a huge success. The company is now talking about data in ways they never did. Their CEO is constantly looking for additional data to help make better decisions. Data is being incorporated into all aspects of the strategic planning process to try to develop stronger plans for the future.
When I spoke to the CEO last week, I wasn’t a bit surprised to hear him say the following:
Everyone has all the data they will ever need, but nobody is actually using the data!
Apparently, the majority of people within the business love all the data and ‘reports’ but they aren’t actually using that data to make any real changes to their operations. They are viewing the reports and, by all accounts, love to see ‘what is happening’ but they aren’t viewing the data or reporting with a critical eye to making improvements to their business.
This is the ‘data culture’ issue that needs addressing within most organizations. You can collect and analyze all the data you want but if you don’t use that data for something more than taking up storage space and processing time, you are wasting money and time.
Data is only as good as you make it.