Data, data and more data

Data, data and more data

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I’ve found it fascinating recently seeing organisations with significant amounts of data collected and yet not using it to improve their business.
Some thoughts always spring to mind in these cases and I just need to share them. I list a few questions here so you can consider them for your business.
1. Are you collecting the right data? What is the data telling you and how could you use it? Does it give you the bigger picture and help you understand your business and identify improvements areas. If it isn’t helping and you don’t need it then stop or consider what you do need to know.
2. How are you going to analyse and share the information? It usually works best if you can display the data through visuals. People tend to prefer that and it generates more of a conversation. I’m very much a fan of holding performance board conversations looking at the displayed information and capturing potential action points on the whiteboard. Alternatively if the data needs more of a lengthy conversation then take the data into the meeting (having shared before the meeting, if you can, to give people time to absorb what it’s telling them) and generate some brainstorming and good honest conversations. There is nothing like getting that buzz when teams get involved and ideas will flow giving improvements for the business. And don’t forget to draft an action log to make sure the actions have an owner and a completion timeline. Times I have seen actions fall by the wayside.
3. If you are not using the information after the conversations in 2 then why are you collecting it? So you’ve explored with the team what it’s telling you and it’s precisely nothing. In those cases consider whether it’s needed to meet regulatory or other requirements. If not then stop the collection as it is adding time to your employees work and is unproductive. I’ve been in meetings where we’ve discovered teams keeping data we no longer needed and it had just been for a project lifespan. Unfortunately no one had thought to tell the team it was no longer required. So taking time out to explore the data and what it is telling you gives also an opportunity to check are you wasting time.
Do let me know via the comments if you gain some benefits from carrying out a stock take on the data collected.
Take care
Nicola


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