race to become data-driven
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Many companies are investing in some sort of data project – data analytics, big data, AI, machine learning data science. However, independent data projects do not make you data-driven.

The race to secure a data-driven and robust future is instead an integral part of a strategic journey, where you look to position data to empower and deliver on your business objectives.

As we return to our new normal, the importance of deeper insights has perhaps never been so critical to our decision making. Organisations are under pressure to make the right decisions to enable them to survive and transform their business model in the most appropriate way – this can only be achieved using data and analytic techniques to turn data into value in a repeatable, business-focused manner. Unfortunately, there is no simply plug and play solution to becoming data-driven. Instead, it’s about taking a data-driven approach across the business, putting the information and critical skills you have at the heart of the strategy, supported with the right technology to deliver the fundamental insights you require to not only survive but also thrive in this increasingly competitive landscape.

Here are some top tips that can help businesses succeed with their race to be data-driven:

Embrace a data-driven Future

The race to be data-driven has never been so important with so many businesses emerging from this period faster and hungrier having invested in data and analytics – this produces a new competitive landscape where the more intelligent, efficient and engaged organisations will hold a significant advantage. The need to be data-driven requires leadership alignment and a cultural shift to instigate success, and it needs to happen now. Driving champions that can help instigate data-led actionable change is of paramount importance for the commercial future.

Align Data Investment to Business Outcomes

Data investment has to align with agreed measures of success in business terms. Does the immediate strategy require cost reduction, revenue generation or creating richer experiences to regain customers? Prioritisation at this stage becomes incredibly important. What decisions will drive the most effective results and what is the potential impact of each decision to the organisation? By knowing, defining and sharing a set of goals, it becomes clearer what the company is working towards, and ensures that all stakeholders and teams share a common understanding of what data-driven success looks like.

Upskilling your data and analytic talent

Ensuring you have the right team and skills to scale your analytic initiatives is perhaps one of the most significant challenges you’ll face. What resourcing model is right for the business and how might you best establish a core, centralised best practice team of data professionals? – one community striving in one direction to empower the business and implement data-driven success. A data-driven company is one where the entire organisation leads with data, where data literacy is spread through every tier of the organisation. Defining the skills and competencies against those critical dependencies is essential across every level of your workforce.

Use data to inform any transformation

Workplaces are changing. To evolve effectively and become more agile decisions need to be driven by data. Whether these decisions involve the application of new technology and automation, further investment around digital collaboration or more innovative processes, any implementation needs to be based on actionable data.

Thriving and surviving with a data-driven data strategy is key for success in today’s competitive market, because it presents the ability to make informed decisions and transform quickly based on real insight.

Join Rich Pugh, Chief Data Scientist at Mango and Simon Adams, Change Consultant at Nine Feet Tall, as they discuss the importance of being data driven in this increasingly competitive commercial landscape and why putting data at the heart of your business transformation is imperative if you want to survive and thrive.

The focus for the webinar will be on:

  • Why are organisations racing to become “data-driven”?
  • What exactly does a data-driven organisation look like?
  • What happens if we don’t get there quickly enough?

Join this webinar


an agile approach
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Working at a distance is hard. It requires discipline, planning, trust, and an acceptance that things may not be smooth. It can however, be empowering, productive and highly successful. But how do we enable our data science teams to stay connected to the culture and values any organisation stands for, and one another – both professionally and socially – when we lose the ability for physical interaction? Arguably, COVID-19 has done more for digital transformation than the past 10 years of technological evolution and as a result the workplace has changed forever. Meaning a whole new set of tools and processes combined with effective stakeholder management, in a positive, success-led manner.

Below are some practical hints and simple processes that can be adopted with your teams that we deploy in our own Project Management, to ensure we stay productive in a suboptimal environment.

1. Talking beatS WRITING

Success comes from communication. We’ve all had weeks, days  and even moments when we’ve wanted to shoot email in the face and bury it six feet beneath the surface, and at times of social isolation, the need to ensure the appropriate use of email is paramount. For many people, email is the standard go-to device for managing workload, but to truly engage people in the business, we need to shift our thinking so that communications are more interactive giving all participants a voice. On day 2 of isolation, we instigated a daily stand-up at team level – just a short 15-minute meeting where everyone got to highlight issues, blockers, concerns, achievements, and questions – both work and personal. Aside from providing a platform to check the health and physical wellbeing with demonstrating empathy for everyone’s personal circumstancces, it gives an opportunity for everyone to stay connected, see each other, and generate a sense of ‘all-in-it-togetherness’ that the written word simply cannot achieve. Do this every day, make it a ritual, and maybe it will stay with you once we’re out the other side.

2. Protocol has changed

Strong and effective leadership is based on understanding the purpose, people and processes related to any given activity. In a remote setting, this is more difficult to achieve. The best decisions are made when they are informed through experience, so take the opportunity of inviting senior stake holders, engage and break down barriers across the organisation. Ensure clarity as to why data is at the heart of every business decision. Get them involved in daily stand-ups, include them in team discussions – not to lead, but to participate – and give them the opportunity to understand the context within which the business is now operating. As a workforce we are all learning this new paradigm together, and only together will we find the best way to deliver.

3. Create space for your staff and trust them to deliver

The working day at home; wake up, stumble to the bathroom, see your laptop enroute, open and get sucked in. Before you know it, family life is happening around you and the ability to distinguish between work ‘you’ and ‘non-work’ you is increasingly diminished. Many successful people live like this all their lives – I once had a CEO tell me he purposefully didn’t distinguish between work and home – but I don’t believe this is the norm, nor do I believe it to healthy for the majority of us. And we can do things to help.

Create space in the working day to step away. Encourage everyone to do the same. Be tolerant if individuals need to focus on other priorities at certain times and trust your colleagues to get the job done. I am sure that working patterns will shift markedly as a result of COVID-19, but we will also be a more productive country as a result. Encourage your staff to connect with their families, give them space to work to a pattern that allows them stay focused. Do this for them, and you’ll be surprised at how big a mountain they’ll move for you.

4. Maximise the adoption of shared platforms

Alongside your daily standups, encourage the daily adoption of data science tools as an outlet for question, advice or even unload after a bad day. Mango heavily relies on instant messaging tools such as Microsoft Teams and Slack, which offer a great way for our team to communicate and share their own tips and tricks. We also conduct a weekly analytics club for showcasing ideas and progress with projects, and encourage conversations throughout the week with games like ‘Whos Desk is this?’ and ‘Two truths and a lie’. Shared collaboration tools such as trello, planner or JIRA offer a great platform for sharing to do lists and help understand generally how projects are progressing. Coding in remote teams only enforces the need for good coding practices, structured review processes, creating readable and reproducible code, and making use of version control software’s such as Git and GitLab. While working remotely, these practices and tools enhance our ability to share code with the team. Afterall Data Science is a Team sport.

5. Be open to challenge and let your staff see their voice

We do so many things whilst ‘at work’ and our experience and activities are often so much more than the job we have. We make friends, we come together around similar interests and passions, and we help each other when needed. None of this happens simply because we have a job; it happens because at the heart of it, we are driven by the need to be active in our community. But people also need to feel that they have a voice. COVID-19 and the related isolation has been an imposition like we have never experienced before, and everyone is working out what works best for them. Leaders are trying to put mechanisms in place to allow workable solutions, but these won’t always be right. Its important to give those experiencing it (and by that we mean EVERYONE!) a chance to feed in. Create space for staff to share challenges, offer solutions, and be prepared to act on them. Giving staff the ability to see change as a direct result of their needs will help them see that they can make a difference. This is a critical component of community building and will and it will bring your teams closer together.

We might just find , the end result is a whole new set of tools and processes, combined with effective stakeholder management, lending itself to in a positive enforced success-led initiative .

Author Pete Scott, Client Services Director at Mango.