Data-driven dialogues will define successful organizations

Digital disruption requires transformation – what’s your organization’s path to greater success?

Thirty years ago, managers spoke of the need to address both “high-tech” and “high-touch” challenges to compete successfully. Today, with “tech” taking center stage in a massive disruption of “business as usual,” data-driven technology is defining how we understand and serve our customers. Since data is driving our understanding of the market and our management decision-making, and with new technologies defining new delivery channels, we must incorporate data and the use of digital information into all discussions within our organizations. 

Data-driven dialogues must become the new normal for our leaders, our workforce, and our interactions with customers. 

Digital transformation is the buzz phrase of the moment, and data analytics is the typical answer to most questions regarding how best to build the foundation for change. Why is this so? 

Well, our path down the technology trail has brought many of us to a place where digital interactions driven by activated data promise to deliver the highly-desired goal of individualized promotion, unique sales terms, and highly customized customer service. In addition, organizational leaders are attracted by the less publicized but equally desirable financial goals of cost reduction and profit margin improvement. 

Using fewer people to deliver better service, reducing risk, and providing greater personalization to the customer, at a lower per-transaction cost is the 21st century’s holy grail. 

The focus is mistakenly placed on technology rather than people when chasing change. 

You’d think we would learn, finally, that people create change through active thinking, planning and implementing. It’s not the forces around us that drive change; it’s us. We may be responding to our environment, but in the end, we make it happen. 

Strategic, proactive thought and action, done by people focused on evaluating technological change and opportunity, is the most effective way to drive organizational transformation. And the best people will make sure that their transformations are real, relevant and intentional. 

Technologists and data gurus are showing us how to use data to understand our organizations, our markets and ourselves. They are bringing us the tools to transform our shops and better serve our customers. But we must now take the lead in defining what we want to be, and do, with the aid of these resources. We must decide what it means to “get an A,” and what we must learn and accomplish to earn it.

Data-driven dialogues are how we can get there. Instead of opining on best path, best practice, and least cost, or copying the work of others, we need to collect the data we have (and can acquire) and share it among all areas of our organizations to create appropriate plans, realistic paths forward. To achieve the ultimate organizational success, strategic and tactical planning must incorporate regular, structured dialogues among leadership, within the workforce, and with customers.

It’s about more than the customer experience.

We talk about using data to learn from and understand our customers so we can better satisfy the wants they express and the needs we discern from captured data. But to make this optimally successful, we need to gain more than the trendy objective of a “better customer experience.” 

We need to use these interactions and this captured “reality” to drive thought and action, and to alter how we do business across the organization, including transforming operational processes and business models. This may even mean changing the lines of business, delivery channels, measures of success and other parameters within which we currently operate. 

The bottom line is this; we can no longer avoid talking to each other, nor can we side-step our responsibility to think, plan and act. We mustn’t rely on software applications to proscribe answers. We can’t foist this work on our technologists with the narrow rationale that it is their data and therefore their responsibility. 

Business leaders must do the work managers have always been called to do, defining objectives, defining the path forward, and implementing change throughout the organization. Today that work must be based on informed, data-rich discussions with key stakeholders. 

Managers must engage across the organization in the change cycle of “observation, orientation, decision-making and action.” And they need to teach and empower employees to do the same with their work and with their co-workers. Using the real data available to the organization to drive this effort will mitigate the human desire to act on accepted wisdom rather than evidence.

It’s time to develop thinking employees, not reactive ones. It’s time to truly empower employees at all levels to take the right actions. It’s time to transform your organization’s approach to change. It’s time to achieve lasting success from evidence-based analyses.

Greg Crandell

Greg Crandell

Greg Crandell provides strategy, market planning, business development, and management consulting to financial technology firms and their clients – Credit Unions and Banks. For more years than he wishes to admit, ... Web: Details