Linking People And Process To Drive Data Excellence

While organizations must move quickly in today’s business climate, technology is driven by an even more agile market place.   How does an organization drive strategy under these circumstances?  Successful organizations require determination of the true value of strategic moves to the business. 

Accurate data is the key to driving organizational strategy.  If data is not accurate then reports tend to be manually maintained to fill in the blanks of data disparity, which could negatively impact business decisions that are made based on such inconsistent data. Data excellence is not for the faint of heart. It requires a strong foundation to get and maintain accurate, consistent, leverage-able results. 

Data is needed in a variety of functions, including financial transactions, product and services costing, work output, organizational through-put and performance analytics. Stale or stagnant data means missed opportunities for timely and accurate decision making. So, how do organizations create a solid foundation to achieve optimum data for analysis? 

People and processes are the top two organizational factors that can negatively impact an organization’s decisions.

People are typically the source of data gathering and they determine the level of excellence of your data.  Lack of appropriate skills or understanding of goals and targets, unclear roles and responsibilities, poor decision-making skills and poor or inconsistent organizational culture can all affect the accuracy of an organization’s data.  The sharing of goals, objectives, data, information and KPIs across the organization will naturally develop a stronger, more open informational flow to improve operational excellence rather than forcing it through sheer organizational strength.

Internal processes can also affect the analytical outcome. Poor infrastructure and integrations, instability or lack of transparency; sole reliance on technology, a lack recognition of the people behind the technology and unclear, undocumented or old processes all impact the accuracy and timeliness of organizational data. 

To build and maintain a strong data foundation, and have lasting benefits, here are some areas to focus on:

  • Process architecture
  • Independence and dependence between processes
  • Creating habits out of new processes
  • Communication and understanding of vision, policy, strategy and direction
  • Training, people, tools and budget
  • Measurement  
  • Compliance
  • The view into people management
  • Priorities
  • Provide benchmarking and assessment framework
  • Enablement of long-term thinking
  • Enablement of agility and handling of rapid growth by cross training
  • Improve knowledge and skills

Study the existing infrastructure, identify the business, people, technology and data issues/pain points before starting down the path of system upgrades.  Organizations must know the goals to meet them.  People must have the time to determine the correct changes to make.  Data must be accurate prior to conversion or implementation.  Testing must be done, holistically for both data and processes, for all possible scenarios.  Lastly, validation of the converted data is important. In short, accuracy is key.

Scale processes through formalized programs and training. To teach, standardize and improve operational processes better aligns with market movement and company growth.  Use fully integrated systems to provide real-time information visibility for organizational leadership and deliver KPIs in real time across the organization to all employees. 

Lead the wave!

Want to learn more? Stop by RCMT’s booth at ADP’s Meeting of the Minds Conference in Las Vegas, March 31 – April 3, Kiosk #2.

Image: Thinkstock

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