4 Essential Steps to Leading with Data

According to the Global Leadership Forecast 2018, companies whose leaders are well prepared to use data to guide decisions are 8.7 times more likely to have closely integrated talent and business strategies, 7.4 times more likely to have a strong bench of future leaders, and 2.1 times more likely to have grown aggressively over the past three years. Well, exciting news for you and your company: VanData is officially an Authorized-level Qlik® Solutions Partner! This allows you to benefit from the expanded solutions we now provide, better preparing you to “Lead With Data™.” Chances are that’s not the first time that phrase has crossed your path. While it sounds simple, you might be wondering exactly how to “Lead With Data.” No worries, we’re here to help.

Step 1: Set specific goals

Step one to leading with data? Setting specific, data-related business goals. Stating that you want to become “data-driven,” or “lead with data,” is too general. Defining your business goals ahead of time will help to avoid getting lost in the data and losing sight of why you began the initiative in the first place. Make sure to specify which departments and employees will be impacted by and play a role in making the shift to leading with data, along with how they will be affected. This will help engage employees in the change in a positive manner.

Step 2: Involve everyone

Involve everyone. Before you can lead with data, it is essential to first get everyone in the organization involved and lay the foundation for a data-based culture. Interview the employees, department heads, and influencers in your company that you defined earlier in the process to better understand how they want to become more data-driven–this step is important to eradicate any misplaced fear that becoming more data-focused will threaten jobs. As a bonus it will also give you a better idea of the kind of solution needed to meet your business goals without alienating employees.  Involving employees early on in the decision-making ensures that they better understand the need for the change, as well as how the shift toward a data-based approach will affect them in their everyday responsibilities.

“A data-driven culture can be defined as an operating environment that seeks to leverage data whenever and wherever possible to enhance business efficiency and effectiveness.” – Brent Dykes

Step 3: Choose a platform or tactic

Now that a base for company change has been created, your goals have been defined, and employee concerns/data needs are better understood, it is time to choose a new platform or tactic. The right solution should fit your company needs while enabling the flow of data to everyone in the company and eliminating department data silos. It should make data easily digestible and accessible to everyone. At the same time, it should also offer governance and scalability based on your goals from step 1.

Qlik® empowers everyone at your company to become a citizen data scientist by simplifying analysis and giving everyone the ability to visualize the data at hand to uncover their own insights. The Qlik Associative Difference® means that while related fields from search queries are shown, unrelated fields are displayed as well, often bringing up new questions. Another plus? Queries can be typed directly into the search bar, making self-service data visualization a reality for everyone in an organization. Qlik also includes an Insight Advisor in the platform that recommends, and then subsequently builds visualizations based on the data– and their recent Crunchbot acquisition means that a machine learning and augmented intelligence-based chatbot integration is available, allowing users to simply type questions like “show me product sales for region x compared to region y,” etc, etc.

Step 4: Lead by example

Finally, to derive the maximum return on investment (ROI) on your system or tactic of choice, everyone needs to use it. Give employees the authority and tools they need to access the data, at the same time leading by example. After all, if you’re not using the data to make decisions, why should they?

There is no recipe for successfully transforming into a data-driven company, but whether you’re looking for an entire analytics platform, reporting, a temporary boost in your IT department, or a specific application, VanData can help you find the right solution. Give us a ring, drop us a message for any questions, or schedule a free consultation.

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