We hear it time and time again. Business leaders tell us:
The Analytic and IT teams will tell us:
The problem – they’re all right. In the fight for information and resources, the natural inclination for business leaders is to leap to requesting reports and metrics – to get in the queue. The data partners are inundated with these requests from all angles, swamped by ever-growing data needs, and further slowed by incomplete requirements.
Data alone cannot fundamentally change your business. Data can inform the decisions you will make to evolve your business. Therefore, starting with data requirements, before you understand your decision levers, is a recipe for failure.
Start with the end in mind. “What is the goal I am trying to accomplish?”. These Strategic Goals will be the foundation for the actions you intend to take. Be specific with your targets, including your measures and timeframes. Examples include:
The fundamental question that follows – “What can I do today to make tomorrow different?”. The actions you can take to execute changes are your Decision Levers. Let’s take the example of a Collections Manager. Their decision levers may include:
There’s little reason to expend time, energy, and resources to build reporting around those things you cannot change. By focusing on your decision levers – you will naturally prioritize the critical knowledge that will inform your strategies.
Now, ask yourself “What could happen if the action I take is wrong?”. The range of consequences for your choices are your Decision Tradeoffs. Let’s follow through with Settlement Offers. My tradeoffs could be:
We use these tradeoffs to inform what needs to be measured to ensure decisions keep you within your guardrails.
Finally, ask yourself “What would I want to be able to measure to see if my decisions are working?”. These Key Monitoring Metrics will allow you to understand if your decisions are having the desired effect, and if you are staying within the sweet spot of your Decision Tradeoffs.
At this point, define the metrics in plain English terms:
Following through on the Collections Settlement example, some of the Key Monitoring Metrics could include:
The goal at this stage isn’t to solve for the actual reporting you will need. Now though, you will be able to communicate your needs and requirements in a way that will facilitate understanding at all levels of the organization – including with those partners that will be supporting you in building the reporting you need to meet your Strategic Goals.
The process described here is the first of many steps to begin laying the foundation for a robust experimental design process supported by unified Business Intelligence. If you’re finding challenges bridging the gap between your data needs and capabilities – we’re here to help.