Blind Decision Making - Ignoring the Data
How to shift your organization to make more informed decisions through data.
One of the benefits of speaking about measurement/analytics, and customer experience, is the opportunity to answer questions and have conversations with other practitioners working for all types of organizations. In one case, someone (we’ll call her Emily) who has read my blog posts on developing digital measurement strategy (Measurement Strategy), challenged my assumption that generally organizations make decisions based on data. Her frustration was that despite the good work she and her team were doing, decisions were made without proper attention to the data and often based on management’s biases or ‘gut feelings’. This frustration was enhanced by the fact that lately, this decision making was not resulting in good strategy and costing the organization time and money.
Emily is correct – many organizations do not support decision making with facts and it can be incredibly frustrating. What may have worked for a start-up at the beginning when little data existed and gut decisions and opportunistic thinking were all entrepreneurs had, is certainly not sustainable.
So perhaps it would be helpful to provide an approach to helping your organization be more data driven in its decision making – from top to bottom. The following two blog posts will look at creating a data driven culture in your organization based on something I call an Analytics Foundation Strategy.
Creating a Data Driven Culture: Analytics Foundation Strategy
While you never want to discount local knowledge and experience gained through successful operation of a business or organization, the key to changing decision making culture is combining the old with the new and transitioning this over time. We want to add to what works now, and make scalable for the future.
Analytics Foundation Strategy is a way for organizations to see their way to adopting the widespread use of measurement and analytics, and doing so through 3 phases of decision making and change:
- By looking at current, undesirable outcomes and the data surround these, diagnose issues or areas where improvement is needed and get at the root cause of why something is happening the way it is.
- Support the decision-making process from a planning and action perspective (i.e. business cases, requirements documents, etc.). And finally,
- Analyze the effectiveness of decisions or actions taken for both the refinement of how change was implemented, and evaluation of these decisions or actions.
The strategy is designed to support the planning and decision making processes to constantly improve whatever needs addressing: online customer experience, customer service, project planning, etc. For the purposes of this article – let’s look at the online channel (websites and apps) for pretty much any organization that offers up information or sells products and services.
Setting the Stage:
Understanding how your organization stacks-up from an analytics and measurement perspective, based on an external evaluation framework, is an important first step . This evaluation gives you a starting point and an understanding of where you need to go in the future as you transition to become a high-performing, data driven organization.
Firms such as Cardinal Path and Blast Analytics / Marketing subscribe to the Online Analytics Maturity Model (OAMM), and provide assessment tools to help clients determine where they sit regarding 6 Success Dimensions:
- Management, Governance and Adoption
- Objectives Definition
- Analytics Team and Expertise
- Continuous Improvement Process and Analysis Methodology
- Technology and Data Integration
This is a great place to start so as part of establishing this new strategy, I would recommend you carry out an OAMM Assessment for your organization. The tool that each vendor has will provide back to you, the results of this analysis, where you will see how you stand according to the model (diagram below) and the 6 Dimensions:
According to one of the vendors, the assessment has broad reaching benefit. “Beyond making your organization aware of where your analytics maturity stands, we will provide recommendations on how to prioritize your analytics efforts, increase structure and better ensure you are on your way to competing on analytics.” <Blast>
One of the by-products of completing the OAMM, is an Audit of all the measurement currently happening and tools being used at your organization. This is something I have mentioned early on in an article on Strategy in The Tuesday Standard. This will also help us determine who ‘owns’ the various measurements: at the departmental and individual level.
At this point, you have a picture of what is going on in your organization and the data that exists across all aspects of the business to support decision making. Next week we will look at where to go with what you have learned and how it fits together as you start to exercise the decision-making muscle with the use of available data.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thank you for reading.