Managers everywhere are looking to grow market share, lower costs and improve customer service by maximizing the use of data throughout their businesses. Everyone, it seems, is talking about the benefits of data management and analysis, and its impact on decision-making. And I’m confident much of the talk will prove to be true – over time. But I can’t help notice that today in most institutions the prevalent process is more conversation and consideration, than it is active doing. This isn’t surprising to me.
There are many reasons why organizations are still doing more “thinking than doing.” It takes time to learn what needs to be known in order to craft a data strategy, set appropriate goals, revise or build teams, build infrastructure and start the work of organizing and analyzing the available data, as well as collecting data from untapped sources. It’s also true that large data analysis projects and in-house “builds” create an “anticipation challenge” defined by the frustration felt when a project’s perceived value is so great that people are frustrated by the lack of results in the near term. Clearly, the job in front of managers is a big one. Time to results is a genuine challenge.
But one does not have to wait for the results of large-scale data projects to begin to benefit from today’s focus on data-driven decision-making. There are business intelligence solutions in market now that provide already available member and organization management information, delivered via dashboards, that will move your organization forward in both decision-making capabilities and financial results.
Dashboard based, data-driven solutions such as “financial performance management” applications are available now at affordable prices to promote your organization’s effective use of data. These relatively easy to implement solutions can both promote your ability to make timely, effective decisions and prove the value of your broader data strategies by putting information, not just data, at your fingertips — now.
In a matter of weeks you could put to work one of these industry-tested solutions and begin informing management decisions, tracking progress toward goals, and improving performance.
One such area for immediate impact can be found in dashboard-based solutions that deliver full general ledger and profit and loss information and analysis. These tools allow you to realize efficiencies from automation that reduce staff time and errors. They provide daily performance tracking and reporting, with drill-down capability, that can lead to data-driven dialogues and better, timelier, decision-making. Your institution has at its disposal all the financial information it needs to understand in nearly real time the impacts of decisions on financial performance. But to do so, fully, you need to deploy dashboard-based business intelligence tools; far more than spreadsheets, these tools bring the data together in one place to share, discuss and inform action.
Financial institution managers are rightly spending time looking to data-focused projects that drive growth, reduce costs and improve processes. And managers expect their efforts toward data analytics and decisioning to pay off in the future. But managers should also look to already available services that promote member understanding and organization management “out of the box” because these services can help you grow your decision-making capabilities quickly, even while you are learning to employ broader analytic capabilities for your organization.
In short, there are data-driven solutions available now that can quickly take you places you need to go. Look to these existing tools in order to promote early successes while you develop and execute your longer-term data strategy.