Data driven decision making is the act of using facts, statistics, and figures to inform and guide business decisions. With the influx of available data analysis tools businesses have at their disposal, data driven strategies have become more accessible. When done correctly, data driven decision making can help companies minimize loss and risk, while capitalizing on opportunities.
The thing is, data driven decision making is not always straightforward. A data driven approach may be more accessible than ever before. However, companies still need to strategize when it comes to data collection and data analysis.
Here are some fundamental steps you can follow to guide your own decision making process.
The first step in being a data driven organization is to identify company objectives. This allows you to focus your data collection efforts toward those goals.
For instance, do you want to direct more traffic to your website? Reach a certain target demographic? Or, do you want to deliver more sales of a certain line of products? The data driven approach to business hinges on a close alignment between objectives and data.
Once you know what it is you want to do, it’s time to seek input. And company-wide goals require feedback from every area of the department. Doing this makes it easier to define roles, establish guidelines, and also identify potential problems or solutions which can be analyzed using data. Surveying every team in the company also helps ensure that every member of the organization understands the company's goals.
Once you have the framework in place for what you want to achieve, it’s time to start collecting data. If you skip the previous two steps, and dive straight into data collection, you won’t know what to look for. Then, you are stuck with a mountain of data, but no way to sift through it. Laying the groundwork before data collection enables you to focus your efforts and be more efficient.
The most important data sources are the ones with the largest audiences. But any viable source of data should be factored in.
Once you have your data, it’s time to analyze it. Data analysis is the pivotal step in any data driven decision making model. To make the most of your data analysis efforts, you will likely need to use data analysis software. Microsoft Excel is a trusted resource for both data collection and analysis. Another program to familiarize yourself with is Tableau, which is phenomenal for all types of data visualization.
Data analysis and brainstorming may seem like one step, but it’s important to make a distinction here.
Data analysis is the step in the decision making process that is focused on analyzing facts. Meanwhile, brainstorming follows this by using those facts to come up with innovative business solutions and insights. This step requires critical thinking, collaboration, leadership, and creativity.
After everything else is done, the final step is to implement your new data driven business solutions. If you have followed all the previous steps, you should have a data-backed solution that is informed by organizational goals and company-wide input. The right implementation strategy can help take your business to new heights.
Data driven decision making describes one particular approach to making decisions in business. But the decision making process is, in many ways, its own skill. No matter what process informs your decision, the ability to act decisively and confidently is critically important.
Read about how to become a more confident and ethical decision maker to learn more about this vital skill. Or check out the rest of ASAP’s extensive collection of professional training resources.
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