Being Data-Driven is Not a Strategy, it’s a Culture

Every company, regardless of their size or the service they’re selling, has someone who generates data, someone who stores it, and some who consumes it. That someone may be an individual or a team, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that data tends to fall into silos, and unless you’ve developed a data-driven culture, its value is being lost.

Data is Everywhere

Get up from your desk and take a quick walk around the office. Look at who is sitting where, what they are doing, and what is on their screens, their phones, their desks, even their watches. Every single one of them – including yourself – is producing data, simply by being a part of the digital world around them.

That guy in the corner? The one with his screen tilted to escape the glare of the window? He’s the one storing all that data, making sure the databases are continually being fed. And that tireless woman in the middle of the room? The one with three screens on the go, talking into her headset, and juggling a conference on one cell phone while she texts her team on another? She’s the one consuming that data, taking one bite after another out of the data before her, yet never satisfied, never satiated.

You have two choices in this environment. You can be the kind of manager who is content with serving orders to that one table, satisfied with the scraps of insights left on her plate . . . or you can be the one overseeing a pot-luck feast, empowering the team to contribute and consume data and insights along as they go.

Recognize Insights, Don’t Look for Them

Companies with a strong data-driven strategy are very good at mining data for insights. They have a shopping list of needs, and their team data shops to fulfill those needs. In the process, though, they ignore the data that doesn’t fit, leaving insights to grow stale on the shelf.

Having a data-driven culture means being equipped to process that data, automating the identification of issues, patterns, or trends so that your analysts can act upon them. It’s less about shopping for specific insights and more about being able to recognize the insights at your fingertips.

What’s the difference? Well, a company with a strong data-driven strategy may dig deep into call arrival patterns to identify their busiest times, using that insight to drive better staffing. A company with a data-driven culture watches the bigger picture emerge, recognizing combined insights emerge that consider arrival patterns, contact length, first call resolution, abandonment rate, and issue severity across channels.

Instead of simply adjusting their staffing strategy to handle a spike in voice calls, they prioritize skills and channels, update their self-service IVR options, add a new automated chat knowledge tree, and shift their staffing two hours later than their strategy-driven competitor, recognizing that’s when people talk longer, about more complex issues, driving caller dissatisfaction and resulting in repeat calls.

From Data Bin to Rubbish Bin

Everybody in your business has an appetite for a goal or deliverable. Trust them to shop hungry, and they’ll come away with junk food insights of empty calories, leaving the best data to either rot in the bin or grow stale on the shelf.

You need to develop a culture that understands the data and thinks about feeding the team, not just themselves. Lead them down the aisles they don’t normally shop. Teach them to recognize meals, not snacks. Empower them to collect ingredients, try new recipes, and bring those insights to the pot-luck feast.

Better yet, invite your clients to that feast, and watch the impact a plate of beef wellington and a side of consommé can have when they’re used to the competition serving hot dogs and chips.


By Bob Milne, Leader Bids and Proposals Global Marketing