If you’ve been involved with Corporate America long enough, you have encountered the pithy saying “You can’t manage what you can’t measure“. It should read “You can’t manage what you can’t measure and analyze”.
Data is important. It helps you to quantify aspects of your business such as customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, financial results, and workforce engagement. You do not need to be a data scientist to analyze data. Take a simple approach, fire up Excel, gather your data, and start asking the right questions:
- Why is this important? The data should support an operational process or a strategic goal. You need to care about the result.
- Does it show improvement, or deterioration, or is it steady? This is basic analysis, and can help you recognize trends.
- What is interesting about the data? It may follow the 80/20 rule, but don’t immediately discount outliers. Dig in deeper; you will learn something. Maybe it’s a ‘watch item’.
- When you plot the data on a graph, is it tightly packed, or dispersed? That’s getting into basic statistics, but intuitively you can see if you have a little or a lot of variance. Reducing or eliminating variance implies better control.
Each data point is a fact: “At that time, this happened”. But, is analysis factual?
You need more than one piece of data in order to understand the story behind the data. If a system slowdown occurs on a Monday morning at 9:15AM and stops at 9:20AM, you will get a few complaints or help calls. If you maintain this data and suddenly find that the system has been slowing down every Monday morning for the last five Mondays, the wheels will start to turn, and you will dig further until you find the person downloading all of the fantasy football information from the past weekend. The whole point is to analyze your data, reduce subjectivity, get to a conclusion, and develop a corrective action.
Data doesn’t have to be big. Analyzing data can be huge.
Do you need help reviewing data or developing metrics to help your company achieve its strategic goals? Send me a note through the Performegy Contact Us page and I will respond within 24 hours.