Many organizations fall into one of two camps with respect to technology and data analytics. They either adhere to the mantra of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” or focus on disrupting the status quo using the “If it ain’t broke, break it” strategy. The latter view is increasingly common among startups and the technology industry. However, there is a third approach or middle ground between these two opposing sides: “If it ain’t broke, then keep it going and make it better.” We would call this the “maintain and optimize” strategy.
Be Proactive Instead of Reactive
Organizations of all sizes depend on technology and data. The rapid evolution of technology and the growing accumulation of data is bringing organizations closer together. At the same time, they are being overwhelmed by the speed of new technology and the challenge of dealing with too much data. Business leaders are simply reacting to these changes rather than planning their next moves.
Given the rapid evolution of tools and technologies, how do you choose where to focus your data analysis efforts? There are not enough resources to run the business while simultaneously trying to react to what’s new and what’s next in tools, technology, and processes. The best approach is to pursue a proactive strategy to address changes in technology and to get more from data analysis.
Follow the “Maintain and Optimize” Strategy
Regularly scheduled maintenance is the ideal way to keep mechanical equipment running while managing expenses. It often costs more to purchase new technology than it does to maintain existing equipment. Keeping current systems operational helps to keep those expenses in check. Making your existing technology more efficient enables you to reduce operational expenses and extend its lifespan.
Similar rules apply to new technology and data analysis. Presumably, you’re comfortable using your existing technology and processes to perform data analysis. You’re getting good results from your data but you know there’s room for improvement. How can you optimize your analysis to get more from your systems and data? Consider the following three-pronged approach:
A. Make a short-term list of items you would like to address with your systems, processes, and data analysis. You can address these areas right away to get immediate results.
B. Create a mid-term roadmap (looking six to eighteen months forward) of what you think you’ll need to improve your data analysis and what you want to do next. You might, for example, need to invest in expanding your data storage or pursuing new applications. Figure out what you need to do now and over the next few months to get where you want to be.
C. Determine where you can add value and how to provide it. How can you optimize your data analysis to provide business colleagues or clients with greater value? Define the parameters for what you need to achieve this goal. Then communicate your value add to key stakeholders.
In most cases, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel or blow up what’s working for you now. Your data analysis is good and your processes and systems are working. But they can all be better. Staying competitive and delivering customer satisfaction requires diligence, making sure you’re bringing all the value you can to measuring, analyzing, and acting on the data at your disposal. This requires steady review of what’s in place and what’s possible. Maintain what you have and find ways to optimize your analysis. This approach enables you to make more effective use of your existing resources.
You might require a different perspective to identify where to optimize. Work with a trusted partner who can provide a different base of experience and knowledge to foster new thinking across organizational lines.