Businesses generate and collect reams of data on a daily basis, across sales, financial and operational touchpoints. Some businesses have mastered the art of data-led decision-making, while others struggle to make sense of their disparate data sources.
This often leads to gut-led decision-making. For example, more than half of business leaders in the Asia-Pacific region still make decisions on intuition only, relying on opinions, hunches or previous experiences to drive decision-making. This may certainly work in some instances for savvy business leaders, however, to drive consistent and successful business outcomes across the organisation, it is essential that business leaders leverage the data they collect to develop a strategy for transformational, accurate – and measurable – decision-making.
By deploying the right people, processes and data tools, businesses can spot reoccurring trends, streamline operations or anticipate peak periods, allowing them to make timely strategic decisions. Ultimately, if businesses aren’t already leveraging their data, their competitors probably are – so the faster business leaders can create a ‘data culture,’ the better they can react to changing market conditions.
Here are five ways to get started on the path towards better data-driven decision-making.
Identify your data objectives
Data-led decision-making needs to map back to business objectives. Businesses collect so much information, that it’s imperative to focus on the data that is most relevant to the business by attaching measurable goals and objectives to data analysis. This sets a precedent for all decision-making – one that sees all decisions closely aligned to the business objectives. Businesses should focus on smaller, bite-sized objectives first before tackling bigger, data-intensive tasks.
Give your data the accessibility it deserves
If your data is inaccessible by the people who need it, they simply won’t use it. Decision makers wanting to create a data driven culture should prioritise its accessibility through systems and tools like cloud-based ERP. Most of these platforms can unify data points from multiple sources, creating a single source of truth for informed decision making. This can have a ripple effect across the business, boosting collaboration and accountability across the board.
Leverage data to be a trailblazer
Having measurable data insights will give you as the business leader the ability to accurately forecast direction, instead of relying on instincts. Data can be integrated into any decision-making process across businesses of all sizes, from growing businesses to e-commerce giants. Most ERP platforms provide the ability to capture data snapshots that empowers businesses to identify recurring trends or spikes in demand.
This helps teams anticipate these trends and have the data at hand that is needed to optimise the supply chain during these periods. Once employees are living and breathing a data-driven culture, businesses can look to optimise complex processes like their supply chain.
Visualise your data
Businesses should think about how their people use data. Data analysis is often stereotyped as mundane because it is usually presented through bland slide decks or excel spreadsheets. Most of today’s ERP solutions not only have the capacity to capture useful data but can present it in a highly visual manner, reducing the time needed to understand and make sense of data. ERP solutions are also often readily available and accessible anywhere through cloud-based technology, giving managers and their employees access to data and insights across the entire business.
Where intuition and data meet
Data-driven insights go hand-in-hand with instinctual decision-making – no amount of data can tell you how to deal with frustrated suppliers or emotional customers. Data also can’t predict the future with absolute certainty, so there will always be a place for human intuition and ‘in the moment’ decisions.
But there needs to be a best of both worlds approach. As businesses grow, data-driven decision-making becomes more important. Even an exceptionally savvy founder may not – and should not – be involved in every single business decision. High quality data help to empower others to drive consistent business outcomes that are provable, measurable and scalable in the long-term.