In my last post, I talked about the need to evaluate the significant change that has taken place as we emerge in the post-recession era—change that has fostered the need to think and work differently. Key to succeeding and navigating this new territory is ensuring the right mechanisms are in place to sense change and then respond accordingly, according to a post by Bob Brown of Cambashi.
While the strategic imperatives in the post-recession Wild Wild West have changed, one thing that remains the same (and in fact has become even more paramount) is the importance of data—specifically, data collection, data management, and data visualization.
This post could go in an thousand directions from here. For brevity, I’ll keep it high-level by echoing the notion of “instilling an analytics culture” in your business, as mentioned by InformationWeek’s Rob Preston. While there is still room for instinct and “gut feel,” not many people are gifted with that ability enough to bet their business on. The data you need to understand macro trends and micro events are available. Truth be told, you probably have more data than you know what to do with. Your only lifeline in that vast ocean of information is ruthless focus. And not just for executives and senior managers, but for every level and role in the organization. You need everyone marching to the same drummer and singing from the same hymnal. When measuring business performance, they don’t call them “key” performance indicators (KPIs) for no reason.
If you’re still in business after the recession, pat yourself on the back or thank your lucky stars (either or both might be appropriate). Right now, determine the top five metrics your company must measure on a daily basis and get that information in front of every person that can make even the smallest contribution to improving those numbers. Soon, hallway conversations will focus on those five things. “Hey, did you see the XYZ stat this morning? Great week. If we string a few of those together we’ll blow out the quarter.” The data and the tools are there (see Doug Henschen’s report on embedded business intelligence). KPIs need to be a staple of every worker’s information diet, not just a special treat on a slide at the quarterly company meeting.
The winds of change are blowing, but businesses can effectively navigate by leveraging their most important asset – their data – to understand specific business dynamics, threats and opportunities.
In Part III of this blog, I’ll discuss how next-generation software architecture provides a critical foundation for rapid detection and response that is necessary for navigating the turn toward growth.
Posted by Scott Hays, Director, Product Marketing, Epicor