We all read a lot about 'data-led decision making'. But what does that look like, and how can it work for you? It's a less tangible concept, but it will help to maximise efficiency and drive £££ over the medium and long-term. It's easy to think we know what's best (see Ford and the Edsel!), or to stick with what seems to be working, but it's important to scrutinise our operations, and data can enable that. Here are four ways that harnessing available and useful data can boost your organisation.
1. Report and learn lessons to be constantly critical. Set up the right reports, understand what data you need to be looking at, and explore how you can analyse it with a view to making improvements. Lead from the front in guiding your team to viewing useful reports to analyse their own performance and improve it in live time. Reports can and should be more than a necessary evil of simply passing information up the chain.
2. Ensure continuity through operations year on year, learning as you go. Continue to evolve. Whether you're an event, a venue, or an organisation, you're likely to have repeated iterations of events or matchdays. It's difficult to make huge changes as you work 'live' on an event - it's when you begin planning for the next that big improvements can be made.
3. Define objectives to measure against. KPIs are relevant no matter if you're dealing with numbers or just trying to get a project done on time. Identify useful metrics, set your goals and then use data to interrogate how well you are meeting them. Obviously some areas are more difficult to measure than others, but it's important for that not to become an excuse not to be held accountable. And be ambitious - if the data isn't quite as positive as you want it to be, find a way to improve.
4. Get ahead of the game by analysing trends. One to keep in mind now and into the future. How can you harness machine learning and more sophisticated trend analysis to boost your organisation's operations? How can your data spot complex trends that you would not be able to? Again, this is trickier when your area of work may be less 'numbers'-focused. But the more intelligent you can make your data analysis, the better your operations will become.
Beware the known pitfalls of data. It goes without saying that you need quality data. And use this data to advise on decisions, not to unilaterally drive them. The analogy in this article is a classic. You're really hungry, and you really fancy a pizza. If you are driven by data you would choose a salad bar 50m away rather than a pizzeria 250m away! Let your conscious, human side guide decisions too: interpret and scrutinise data along with your own thoughts. The other side of that coin is to be open-minded to what the data is telling you - don't read the data for how you want to read it. It's a balance to be found.
Data analysis is intangible, it's complex, it's difficult. There is no simple way to harness data to improve your operations. You need to be open-minded and inquisitive, exposing what data you can find and viewing it critically. Combine that critical view with your own thoughts and you'll be led by data without being beholden to it - a great base to improve your operations and save you time and money.
Each of WeTrack's modules are underpinned by automated reporting, enabling you to track the progress of your projects, users departments, and more. Explore our full range of modules here.