April 2014 Newsletter

"What gets measured gets done""

What was true then is even truer now.  Measurement done right can transform your organization.  It can not only show you where you are now, but can get you to wherever you want to go. 

Measurement is fundamental to high performance, improvement, and success in any business.

Having said all that measurement done right is critical.  Identifying the right Key performance indicators("KPI's") not only results indicators.  Actionable information not only results data.  Business users need to be able to pro-actively in near real time forecast, predict and model outcomes, collaborate across the organization and take action when the business needs it.  No longer do business users have the luxury of evaluating data monthly or quarterly. 

To compete in today's world one must be looking and managing to Key performance indicators on a daily, weekly basis.  Not only look backwards in the rear-view mirror but forward and see and anticipate what is ahead.

Business processes seem to come in two flavours: those that produce transactions or content and those that produce decisions. The quality of decisions from the latter category often drives the trajectory of the business. Well-executed, insightful decisions can lead to superior results.

But how can you judge the insights into your decisions, and how can you measure the level of improvement that might be possible? 

1. Focus on Processes that Matter to Your Business

Organizations improving insightful decision-making carefully pick the key processes and operational variables on which to focus. Clear alignment exists between a successful organization's market strategy and its processes and operating metrics to implement the strategy.

2. Stay Focused on Your End Goal 

The improvements you target should be expressed as changes in the specific selected variables. For example, if the goal is to reduce customer attrition by 30 percent, the initiative should fit that objective clearly. This kind of Deming approach of "you get what you measure" is well-documented, but it is surprising how many organizations do the first step without then taking the time to set clear objectives in the second. Deriving insights from a business process requires a good balance of freedom to efficiently explore information and decision alternatives coupled with a clear idea of the objective.

3. Ensure Your Data Supports Your Insights

Taking into account the processes, variables and objectives selected in the first two steps, the third step in improving decisions is to determine the readiness of your data and infrastructure to support the kind of insights required. Organizations often get caught in the trap of believing that their data or infrastructure are not up to the task and assuming that progress cannot be made without solving those issues. And yet, decisions must still be made, and it falls on business analysts to cobble together information manually and come to meetings armed with spreadsheets. These discussions based on suspect data often lead to finger pointing and fact questioning instead of insightful decisions.

4. Translate Processes & Insights into Smarter Decisions

The fourth step is to design and engineer the process and business analytic capabilities required to produce the insights and execute the resulting decisions. Getting capabilities in the hands of the process stakeholders quickly and then letting them evolve as the methods of gaining insights emerge usually adds more value quicker than locking down exact requirements and following traditional development methods. And it is equally important to ensure that the resulting process captures the entire insight loop, including planning, reporting, analysis, collaboration, decision-making and execution.

5. Use Your New Processes to Drive Improvements

The last step is to operate the new process and drive the targeted improvements. Here, it is important to make sure resources are provided for properly interacting with the process, data and stakeholders to facilitate the emergence of insights and decisions. Initially, the new process might require more work than the old process, especially until the stakeholders get comfortable with the differences in the new decisions versus what they would have done in the past.

To learn more, please visit us at www.tdtanalytics.com 
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