Trusting your data to make informed decisions

30 March 2020

Cameron Downing, Senior Manager, Consulting |
Fahim Khondaker , Partner, Consulting |

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause widespread disruption across the globe, trusting your data to make rapid decisions has never been more important.

The key learnings on how we handle the current challenges are likely to focus on two things:

  • What decisions are being made?
  • When are the decisions being made?

Whilst it does sound simple to reduce it down to these two metrics, the ability for executives to make the right decision in a timely manner will determine the sustainability of their organisation, and the wellbeing of their staff. 

A large majority of our executive-level clients face a common challenge, irrespective of the sector or the type of project, namely:

“I don’t trust the data I get presented by my teams and have to rely on gut feel to make decisions”

If you are not able to trust the data in your own organisation, how can you be prepared to understand the impact new policies and guidelines may have on your operations? 

Now is a critical juncture for you to prepare yourself and your organisation for the coming months to be able to make the best possible decisions at the right times. 

How do you focus your workforce, and empower them to support decision-making?

We recommend the following four steps to promote optimum decision-making: 

  • Step 1: Do a stocktake of critical data that will likely be required to support decisions in the wake of a growing crisis. Depending on your industry, this will focus largely on:
    • Data that supports your critical processes (supply chain, logistics, projects) 
    • Workforce data 
    • Financial data.
  • Step 2: Make sure that communication is clear regarding where the data source is, and who is responsible for maintaining it.
  • Step 3: Empower those responsible to identify problems, and fix them. There are reasons these problems haven’t been addressed to-date and it is likely a result of capacity, capability, tools, or processes. Fixing these problems may require investment in quality tooling or capability uplift.
  • Step 4: Ensure you have the critical data presented in a way that is meaningful to you and can support your decision-making. If not, invest in data engineering and dashboard development.

For the next little while, do not focus on solving the wide array of data challenges throughout your organisation. Instead, look to what will help make a decision tomorrow for the wellbeing of your staff, and the organisation’s sustainability. Get the critical data right, be able to understand the insights and inferences, and make decisions. Do not let perfect get in the way of good.

As a real example, you only have to look as far as the contrasting ways the crisis has played out for two of the country’s largest football codes - the AFL and the NRL. One received praise from many quarters for their pragmatic approach during the early phases of the pandemic, being able to make decisions quickly based on the rapidly changing pandemic policies, guidelines, and impacts. The other was challenged for their inaction. These two examples are likely to be representative of the professional landscape over the coming months – the time to act is now.

If you would like further information on how data can help your organisation during these challenging times to make operational decision-making easier, please contact a member of our Data Analytics and Insights team. 

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