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Harvard Business Review’s Four Steps for Integrating Data into Your Business

By Erica Olsen

Harvard Business Review’s Four Steps for Integrating Data into Your Business

Integrating data and analytics into your organization can be faced with technological hurdles, resistance to change, even a wave of ownership uncertainty.

But, it doesn’t [and shouldn’t] be this way.

All great leadership teams and high performing organizations don’t just monitor their numbers; they use them as the foundational guide to measure their organization’s performance and make insightful business decisions about their direction.

In a recent article by the Harvard Business Review, they articulated some great points below on how to integrate data and analysis into you organization’s day-to-day practice:

  • Firstly, and most importantly, your strategic plan must articulate a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish and how it will be measured. Easier said than done, we know, but a catalyst in imbedding ongoing data management and analysis processes within your organization.
  • During plan development and organizational department planning, avoid planning entirely in department silos. Planning exclusively in departments won’t give your organization a view into what the data the organization is tracking, what other departments are working towards, and could result in the same data being managed in more than one place.
  • Immerse your leadership team in defining and setting expectations across the entire organization. Failed adoption of data and analytics can be often attributed to leadership not clearly articulating the importance and expectations of ongoing management and analysis.
  • Make data be the backbone of most of your meetings. Often, a meeting’s primary function is to make decisions both big and small. Integrate data into your meetings so that you’re looking at information that is prevalent to the business decisions you are making. We’re not advocating that all meetings should have a data component, but we are advocating you should look at leading and lagging indicators when making most of your business decisions.
  • Before setting out on a data analysis project, clearly articulate its goal. Sometimes you’ll want to dig deeper into your numbers. But, be aware of analysis paralysis and wasting time on data projects that don’t directly contribute to your organization’s strategy or business goals. Make sure you clearly define the goal behind data analysis projects and the specific outcome you’re looking for.

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Harvard Business Review articulates that cultural resistance to data is often a result of two key components. Firstly, 51% of c-suite executives don’t fully support their organization’s data and analytics strategy. Secondly, 60% of data and analytics projects fail. The core reason for these cultural obstacles is because your organization’s structure and people aren’t aligned to your strategic plan.

We agree wholeheartedly. Leaders and key members of your team will embrace analytics in their workflow if they’re aligned to your plan and working towards your organization’s collective vision of success.

Erica Olsen

Erica Olsen is the COO and a co-founder of OnStrategy. She has developed the format and the user interface for the award-winning OnStrategy on-line strategic management system. In addition, she is the author of Strategic Planning Kit for Dummies, 2nd Edition. Erica has developed and reviewed hundreds of strategic plans for public and private entities across the country and around the world. She is a lecturer at University of Nevada Reno and University of Phoenix. She holds a BA in Communications and an MBA in International Management.


One Comment

  1. Diane Brown
    Aug 01, 2017 @ 10:01:03

    Excellent work




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