Since the early 1700s, when the first insurance companies were formed, organizations have sought to leverage data. What’s unique about now is the sheer amount of data available, thanks to how fast it’s generated. For example, in 2018 Forbes magazine announced that 90% of the world’s data had been created in the previous two years.
Our modern-day volume of data presents a challenge and an opportunity. Organizations risk wasting valuable time searching for insights if they’re not careful.
“What we really need is filtered data to help us find patterns and correlations, and help us acquire the knowledge needed to make faster, better decisions and reclaim time,” said HORNE Accelerate Partner Bruce Walt.
The challenge of leveraging data
Most organizations don’t need to look far to find data. It resides in their servers, PCs and filing cabinets, waiting to be used. However, to leverage it effectively, organizations must overcome the following challenges:
Defining the business problem. Leaders must define the problem they want to solve before creating value with their data. Otherwise, they risk not knowing the correct data when they find it.
Taking enough time. Gathering an organization’s data from multiple sources takes time. Therefore, the right amount of care and patience is necessary.
Finding the expertise. It’s not enough to simply gather data. Organizations must have individuals with the right skill set to work with the data and generate valuable insights.
Overcoming internal resistance. Not every stakeholder will see the value of data analytics from the beginning. Often the biggest hurdle to a project’s success is overcoming internal opposition.
How organizations can become more data driven
For most organizations, becoming data-driven is a process rather than a single engagement or installation. The following eight recommendations are for organizations looking to begin their data analytics journey.
Assess Your Organization’s Readiness. Before beginning any data analytics project, it’s vital to contact each potential stakeholder and ask about their level of support. It’s better to know upfront where the project stands so leaders’ expectations are realistic and they can take appropriate action.
Identify your data analytics champions. For best results, aim to find a nucleus of supporters before you begin your project. One rule of thumb is to take the number of stakeholders and calculate its square root. Therefore, for a group of 100, find 10 people who will be adamant in their support of the project.
Define what ‘data analytics and ‘data driven’ mean to your organization. Different stakeholders may hold different opinions. Before implementation, it’s essential to determine your definition of these terms across the organization so expectations are clear.
Define the business problems you’re trying to solve. It’s best to choose a short list of business-critical challenges that can produce the most impact if addressed. Attaching your data analytics deployment to critical challenges helps reinforce its value before and after implementation.
Determine the tools and skill sets required. These include technology assets and the experts needed. Once the business problem(s) are known, the right people and technology can be applied.
Outsource when needed. There’s no need to allow your internal skill gaps to translate into a time-consuming and expensive hiring process. It’s better to choose qualified consultants who can help. As a result, you can continue to work IN your business without the disruption of working ON it.
Understand your data. Once you have the right tools and experts, you can seek out and understand your data’s story. It is during this process that you find insights buried in your data to create real solutions for your identified problems.
Find quick wins for buy-In. To build stakeholder support, seek out areas and projects where analytics can deliver the quickest and most considerable impact. When your deployment shows rapid success, it’ll likely gain support from those initially undecided about its value.
HORNE Accelerate can employ the right technology, people, processes and experiences to unlock the power of your data. They’ll help you assess current practices and lead you to automation solutions that allow you to best leverage your data and your employees’ time and effort. Talk to a HORNE expert today to learn more about how to unlock the power of your organization’s data.