A necessary culture: data-driven and actively leveraged insights

As the head of a specialized data analytics company, I’m often asked, “What’s the ‘one recommendation’ you’d make to any business trying to get more from their data?” My answer is consistently, “Integrate data into corporate culture.”

In the past decade, there has been an explosion in the types, amounts, and variety of insights we can now gain about consumers. People are sharing more information about themselves than ever before, and the companies benefiting most from this scenario are those that know how to draw actionable intelligence from raw data and take action.

A more critical piece

While it’s easy to believe the latest and greatest product or service is the answer to the Big Data conundrum, there is a more critical piece of the puzzle. CEOs need to challenge company leaders to incorporate data into their day-to-day, as well as short and long-term goals, and make them accountable by integrating data-driven decision making into KPIs. I’ve seen many companies that are eager to break into the world of big data, so they purchase a platform that’s incredibly robust and usually quite expensive. Then the platform collects data and sits stagnant because no one understands how to leverage it or feels compelled to do so.

In addition, these huge data platforms and networks offer analysis; however, it’s rarely on a time frame that’s actionable and it often lacks the critical awareness and understanding of the brand’s unique story. If you find out in April, that February would have been a good time to introduce a new product, you’ve either completely missed your window or you’ll be waiting another nine months, giving competitors an opportunity to take the lead.

The alternative, of course, is to empower every manager and executive within your organization with tools for leveraging data and helping them realize the power behind data-driven decision making. When shopping for a data analytics solution, think about how the platform — and the company behind it – can be a foundation for your business and instrumental in leading a culture shift.

Culture improvement

The culture of an organization can be improved through the simple act of correctly analyzing data, gleaning important insights and feeling empowered to take action. The ability to quickly connect the dots between data and real world scenarios allows amazing things to happen. Executives and leaders are energized and excited to test new ideas or enhance existing ones and see results. Everyone in the organization gains confidence to innovate by knowing their actions are based on fact or empirical evidence, not simply opinion.

Data, used correctly, levels the playing field for brands that often see exponential returns resulting from their new data-driven behavior. But without people leading the charge, the promise of big data falls flat.

So to expand on my original response, my recommendation would be to ask a question –Are your leaders motivating your team through data-driven insight? Using data for hindsight only is like choosing to only look at one side of the menu. Inspiring your leaders to take the more proactive position not only opens up new ways of thinking; it can transform the entire way your company does business.

Dev Ganesan appointed CEO of Fishbowl in October 2014. He has a successful track record of building and scaling companies in the digital, mobile, customer relationship management (CRM), and analytics industries. Most recently, Dev served as CEO of Aptara, where he led its evolution from a technology vendor to a digital and mobile solutions partner. Under his leadership, Aptara tripled its value in a three-year period and was acquired in late 2012. Prior to Aptara, Dev was the CEO of Intelliworks and TRADOS, both venture-backed software companies. Dev was also the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Advanced Communications Systems where he led seven acquisitions and the company’s IPO. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Brand Muscle, a local store marketing company, and DC Central Kitchen, a non-profit combating hunger.