In a world where the pace of change is always increasing and a failure to adapt can result in diminished value, we can’t rely on the old way of doing things.

The old way of doing things was basing decisions solely off of instincts, politics, or traditions. These things are undoubtedly important to the decision making process (and that’s not going to change). However, when intuition is supported by data, decisions are more reliable and effective.

There’s evidence to support this. According to MIT Sloan Review, top-performing organizations use analytics five times more than lower performers.

Data empowers leaders to make decisions with confidence. Leaders should be able to ask questions, to find evidence, and to make decisions based on what’s actually going on.

Data analytics – the process of transforming data into actionable information and insights – is the key to do this.

Why don’t we use data to make decisions?

One reason is the technical complexity of accessing data. Traditionally, to get a question answered, business leaders had to go to IT. By the time the IT people export the data and prepare it. This causes a delay and prevents the business leader from rapidly responding to issues. It can also cause frustration for both sides if their are follow-up questions or changes to the original request.

You can solve this by combining data from many different sources and putting it into a data warehouse. Then, you can layer visualizations on top of the data warehouse so you have a single version of the truth.

Another reason we don’t use data is not as easy to solve. Some people are drawn to data to make decisions and discover new opportunities. Individuals with an analytical mindset are able to analyze information, identify problems and trends, and solve complex problems. They are also curious. They ask “why” and they want to learn how to do things better, which improves the whole organization.

Not everyone has an analytical mindset, but fortunately it can be taught. You can also strategically hire for an analytical mindset and foster it within current staff.

curiousDo you have an analytical mindset?

We use a scorecard to asses the current state of analytics in an organization. This information helps us develop an analytics strategy. Many of the questions we ask in the scorecard help us determine if an organization has an analytical mindset.

Do you have an analytical mindset? See how you respond to the questions below to find out.

  1. Do you use data to guide decision-making?
  2. Are you able to effectively communicate observations and conclusions about data?
  3. Do you take action using data analytics?

Whether you have an analytical mindset or want to improve, we challenge you to consider how you can use data in 2017 to support decision-making and find new opportunities. Make a New Year’s resolution to:

  • Make evidence-based decisions
  • Leverage data as an asset
  • Consider untapped data sources
  • Look at combining multiple sources to gain new insights

Happy New Year!

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