Most companies were founded in a time when there was a shortage of information. Getting the information was extremely expensive and not very useful since it normally came along late (and it was normally used just to justify a decision what was already made) . Today getting information is not expensive any more. Actually you have information everywhere and almost in real time for a very low cost. This avalanche of information instead of improving the decision making process is making it harder or in most cases impossible.
Today’s managers and executives say that they are drowning in data. Most of them already attempted to solve the problem by hiring better prepared resources in matters like Big Data, Statistics, Analytics, Data Mining without actually achieving any interesting result. All the mentioned unsuccessful efforts focused on improve the decision making processes in a world with information overload ended up generating a big frustration.
The thing is that the problem is not based on skills but in the culture. Companies born in a world where the information was expensive and scarce. So those companies where not generating the Data Driven Culture component into their DNA. Companies are systems, and as such they have “parts” that interact each other with a main objective.
Those interactions generate information that tells you why your company is achieving or not its goals and how to improve that situation. Which means, which “part” of the system is not interacting properly (bottle neck) preventing the company as a whole to achieve a better result. Some of those parts are “Humans”, people that are interacting each other “thinking” that they are improving the company situation.
However not all the good intentions generate great business results, which explains why hiring “some” big data genius will not fix your problems (I mean, not just that). Is not about how good you analyse the available information but how much of the information from your system interactions (the ones that helps you understand which resource/resources are preventing the company to reach or improve its results) is available. A data driven culture requires that each resource from the company shares the part of “reality” that creates in the company.
Decision making scenario = Σ information(interaction 1) + information(interaction 2) + information(interaction x)
The above mentioned formula tells you how important is sharing the information. Normally that information is kept unintentional hidden by each employee (for example in a paper notebook next to their computers).
The solution is adding to the company’s culture the Data Drive Culture component to their DNA. That’s not something that you do changing all the people in your company but generating a properly environment where people can develop their skills understanding what that means in the current position.
The company’s objective must be so clear that all people’s activities should interact creating like the steps of the stair that ends in the business objetive. The biggest challenge is coordinating all those activities. Analytics Governance is the set of activities focused on understanding which resources are part of the Company’s system, design the measurement systems and generate a cyclic process towards the improvement of the decision making processes, making clear which resources are not bringing the company closer to its objetive and why.
Those companies that have an Analytics Governance plan are those that will make the difference. Regarding the new companies, I highly recommend to starting up with Analytics Governance activities, so their culture DNA will have from the beginning the Data Driven component 🙂