Real Data, Big Impact
Everyone is in a different place right now reacting, responding, and recovering from the impacts of the coronavirus. While the crisis has obviously shaped the immediate actions taking place in organizations all over the world, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be technical wizards, data gurus, or even remotely familiar with analytics to provide data-driven insights to your business. Presenting relevant, timely, and impactful information doesn’t have to fizzle away as life slowly goes back to normal, either. We will share 3 actionable tips (with real-world examples!) to help you accelerate out of the crisis stronger than ever:
Target a quick win. If possible, use the tools & resources you have at your disposal. If internal communication practices are burdensome or if your software applications don’t support the new integration needs you have, do a thorough review of those systems. Starting small and getting a quick win is about leveraging all potential features or resources before you rush and try to build your own version from the ground up or go through a lengthy buying process for new tech — only to find out it will take 6 months to implement.
The same concept goes for data management, web development, and analytics. If the existing tools at your disposal aren’t capable of capturing the critical intelligence necessary to make data-driven decisions during a crisis, export what you can and build your own repository (throw it in excel if you have to!). You can do wonders with a 14-day trial of visualization software, something like Tableau or Powerbi to make a powerful statement with minimal effort if nothing else is available. One great example can be found in the global transport and logistics company who was having a hard time analyzing the impact of COVID-19 across the US. Their long-standing policy of managing HR data independently within each department was going to make it extremely difficult to obtain a full picture of how the virus was spreading internally, long-term impacts on productivity, how to plan for departures, etc. They needed a plan, ASAP!
Solution: Export data from their HR management software, combine with manually gathered case information in excel, and spin up a simple viz to share with HR Execs during their weekly update meeting.
Result: The team uncovered some surprising insights which completely transformed their focus and crisis efforts to tackle what proved to be the most concerning unknown data point. Here’s a snapshot:
Starting small can help you stay timely and relevant with your data-driven initiatives, but in order for it to be truly impactful -- you have to know what the audience will respond to. To ensure your users will be engaged in the content, one can ask:
Keeping with the client story from earlier, the global transportation & logistics company didn’t know what questions needed to be answered, but they did know their leadership needed to see a holistic view (intent) and needed something “A LOT MORE INTERESTING!” than what they were accustomed to seeing with internal data (a good story). They knew the executives were partial to mapped locations, trendlines, and the dreaded donut chart -- but were not familiar with the consuming data outside of PowerPoint or spreadsheets (content engagement). Regardless of how sensitive the data was for this particular use-case, it still made sense to level-up the user experience because, at the end of the day, our client knew the bigger the impact -- the more likely it was that rapid data-driven decisions and immediate action would follow.
Solution: Design a simple viz with those personalized, eye candy elements. Ensure they continue to tell a meaningful narrative through the incorporation of more data points and increased accuracy.
Result: The filterable donut chart was a hit! After the team presented to their leadership, HR leaders immediately asked for an additional dashboard for the rest of North America (Canada & Mexico).
It’s an empowering experience when you can take on a transformative technology adventure and discover really meaningful information about your data, your company, your people, etc. Even more, the best thing about this process is being able to turn that discovery process into actionable insights. And regardless of the type of digital transformation project you are working on, true innovation is not always knowing the questions you have when you begin the adventure.
In our client example, the global health crisis created a scenario in which there was no precedent, no clear path for managing information, and a very short runway to find a solution without knowing what specific questions needed to be answered. So what did they do?
Solution: Add more data points. Innovate and rebuild design with new filterable elements so regional leaders could also leverage the insights on a more granular level
Result: Regional HR managers now have real-time access to their respective departmental analytics. This expedited the time spent looking at data, opening up time and effort for other projects
There’s rarely going to be a laser pointed path to clearly defined solutions. Sometimes it's simply the act of creating a scenario where the list of “things you didn’t know” gets smaller and smaller so you are armed with relevant, timely, and impactful information.
Once you accomplish that: try new things. Do things differently. Take a bit of a risk and go for it! This is where you will find fresh solutions to previously unknown or unsolvable problems. This is how you will continuously build the opportunity to be more creative and innovative. You will experience success... And that is exactly what approach our client took in this scenario. It had an immediate positive effect on the department’s ability to manage COVID-19 needs, while also setting a new baseline for future operational standards in other areas of the business.